December 2019 Administrative Update
by: Doug Wicks
Director of Facilities
Anyone driving through East Aurora cannot overlook the beautifully maintained older homes throughout the village. The level of purposeful maintenance and upkeep is a community mindset and we adopt the same for our school district as well.
As caretakers of the communities most valuable asset, it is our mission (and state education law requires it) to provide "suitable and adequate facilities to accommodate the programs of the district". Many years ago the District developed a long range comprehensive plan that is re-evaluated, at a minimum, on an annual basis. This strategy includes an appraisal of our educational philosophy, program requirements and enrollment as well as the long term evaluation, upkeep and improvement of our buildings and grounds.
Prioritizing the maintenance, repair and modernization of school facilities is critically important to the educational success of our students. The State Education Department requires districts to conduct "Five Year Building Condition Surveys” that provide yearly priority breakdowns of new construction, additions, alterations and reconstruction as well as major repairs, system replacement, estimated lifespan of all survey components and energy consumption. The breakdown also includes estimated expenses, allowing the district to develop strategic financial plans to finance ongoing costs.
Why capital projects? Careful planning of capital projects helps to keep our annual budgets stable, continuously maintain and improve our facilities and limit the impact on taxes by financing the costs over time and maximizing state aid.
We've just completed a major Capital Facilities Project that encompassed a multitude of district-wide improvements and renovations. The High School athletic complex witnessed a new stadium grandstand/press box (original Circa 1971), artificial turf field, track, annex/concession building, upgrades to the soccer field and tennis courts, new fitness center and new locker rooms throughout. There was a complete renovation of both the kitchen and music suite, the introduction of a new STEAM lab classroom and much needed security enhancements to the main entrance. At the Middle School, the 1964 music wing and several classrooms were totally renovated and security upgrades were made to the cafeteria and main entranceway. New STEAM and science labs were installed and the main, guidance and health offices were completely reconstructed. Parkdale received air conditioning in almost all areas of the building.
To recap a few of the major improvements, going back just a few years, we began our safety enhancements with the installation of video surveillance and proximity door swipe system on all campuses, enabling us to be completely "locked and secure" while still providing building access to all faculty and staff. We updated our phone system, finalized paving and parking lot replacements, renovated the 1971 high school natatorium and replaced all domestic hot water, heating and pool boilers at both the Middle and High Schools; equipment that was between twenty-six to forty-five years old. The vast majority of our roofs have been replaced, insulation added and most lighting upgraded to LED. Many of these improvements contribute to considerable energy savings.
I'm thankful that those that came before had the forethought and vision to recognize the importance of sustained maintenance and improvements and how they contribute to the continued success of the East Aurora Union Free School District.