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Survey To Aid Sherman School Board In Its Long-Term Plans

Members of the Sherman Board of Education listen to a presentation on the recent building condition survey by the architectural firm Young and Wright.

SHERMAN — Sherman Central School Board members received an overview of the building condition survey process from the architectural firm Young & Wright at their regular meeting last month.

Jerry Young, Young & Wright partner, Ashley Jewett, project manager, Elissa D’Alessandro, project FIT, and Mike McCarthy, project engineer, spoke to board members via ZOOM about the 2015 and 2020 building condition surveys that the firm conducted for the district.

Young recounted to board members how, in 2020, a team of nine people who are experts in their fields, evaluated and inspected all physical aspects of the district. The inspection provided the basis for the survey document.

D’Alessandro told board members that the walkthrough involved 86 categories, such as parking lot, equipment, roof, carpet and windows. More than 40 of the areas are mandated by the sate; however, the firm adds 40 additional categories, such as library, cafeteria updates and building security. While the state does not require the evaluation of the additional areas, they are often things that the district decides to renovate or improve, she added.

McCarthy said even before the walkthrough, the firm review existing concerns with the maintenance department. Team members also collect and scan all drawings from the past.

“This creates an on-demand digital library,” he said.

Once all of the data from the survey is collected, it is placed on an iPad that is given to the district and placed on the district’s server, Young said. This is the information that will help the district create a plan for the next five, 10 or 15 years, he said.

“The data can be used anytime, anywhere,” he said. D’Alessandro added that “being able to find something when you’re looking for is super valuable.”

D’Alessandro told board members that the building condition survey only shows what exists.

The next step is to look at recommendations and consider the next 10 years.

“This is where you get the value out of the survey,” she said.

D’Alessandro also told board members that in building a long-term plan, districts should consider unique funding sources such as NYSERDA or grants for some items; should determine what can be done in-house; and should determine what might be part of the capital outlay project.

Jewett told board members that, as part of the building condition survey, Young & Wright includes prices for things that need to be done within the next seven years.

“Also, the New York State Education Department likes to see prices for things that need to be completed in a future capital project,” she said.

Jewett also noted the importance of aligning her firm’s recommendations with the district’s vision.

“One of the next steps is combing through the information and making sure Young & Wright’s recommendations align with the district’s priorities,” she said.

Representatives from Young & Wright also reviewed the current capital improvement project in which the roof was replaced, a new office complex was created, building security was greatly enhanced and a new library replaced the pre-K classroom.

Sherman Superintendent Michael Ginestre said that it had been a rewarding experience working with Young & Wright on the project.

“It really has been a team project, he said. “As far as the functionality of space, I think we are a much more efficient operation now. Everything came in on time and on budget, so we are really pleased.”

Young told board members that since the project came in under budget, the STEM classroom, which was originally an alternate, was able to created as well. The project will be closed out in June, he said.

Ginestre said that the process Young & Wright employs with the building condition survey is beneficial to the district.

“The building condition survey and the iPad that they give us really helps keep this building up to date and functioning at a high capacity,” he said.

Addressing representatives of Young & Wright, board president Brian Bates said, “your building condition survey is top notch.”

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