Several Jamestown public schools will be receiving a makeover in the coming years.
The district just finished up a project at Fletcher School, and is now setting its sights toward the high school, Persell Middle School, and the bus garage. The projects were approved by the New York state Education Department's Facilities Planning division. The next step for the district is to go out to bid with all three projects.
The proposed projects include complete rehauls of the hot water heating and ventilation networks, introducing modular hot water heating and demand control ventilation, which is a system that ventilates a room according to how many occupants it has.
The plans also call for demonstration solar panels, which provide an educational tool for students to learn about the sun, more energy-efficient lighting in the form of LEDs and completely wireless computer networks. These changes move toward making the buildings more environmentally friendly while also saving the district money. Additionally, all of the proposed changes will be funded entirely by state aid.
"Contrary to our operating aid, our capital project aid, or our building aid and construction aid, is highly aided, to the point where we expect to have all of our school projects approved by state (Education Department)," said Daniel Kathman, superintendent of JPS.
"We will receive 100 percent reimbursement, no local funds necessary, to make all these improvements to our facilities. So I call it a home run when we improve our heating, hot water and ventilation systems though fully reimbursed state building aid, and that improvement results in a reduction of our operating expenses like our gas bill, electric bill and water bill.
"And that's what we are achieving with these demand-controlled ventilation initiatives," Kathman continued. "The remote hot water heating designs that we are pursuing, it's really tremendous. The prospect of the savings our district will have at no local expense - it's a great thing."
JPS doesn't plan on stopping there, however. The board is already planning future proposals for renovations to Ring Elementary School, Bush Elementary School, and Lincoln Elementary School.
"All three are in the design stage now, and we expect that as the winter evolves, we will submit those to facilities planning and move our focus to those schools next."
The board does not require additional approval from the public to move forward with its building proposals between now and then.
"Our November referendum was approved by the community, so that opens the door for us to submit another $68 million worth of projects to facilities planning in Albany," explained Kathman. "I fully expect it will be seven, eight, nine years before we are finished with that next phase."