Mohonasen Central School District is reexamining the planned demolition of a portion of the transportation facility located on Helderberg Avenue.
The demolition was included in the district’s 2013 proposed $48.6 million capital project after a Building Condition Survey performed in 2010 rated portions of the transportation building “unsatisfactory.” The ratings were related to corrosion of exterior walls in a portion of the building and lack of access for people with disabilities to the building and restrooms in the building. In addition, the limited size of the former bus facility site hindered safe movement of buses and parking of vehicles, making the functionality of the building less than optimal.
However, district officials said the unanticipated loss of Facilities Department storage space during the capital project has prompted a review to keep the facility intact.
“Our programmatic needs have become more clearly defined as the capital project has unfolded,” said Superintendent of Schools Kathleen A. Spring. “As a result, certain renovations have encompassed more space than originally anticipated, which has reduced existing storage space in the high school.”
For example, expansion of the fitness room at the high school in order to address athletic and physical education programming gaps has meant the loss of 250 square feet of storage space. In addition, moving both the concession stand and the athletic trainer’s office to locations that are more functional in terms of purpose of the spaces decreased additional storage.
Director of Facilities Joseph Mayo estimates his department has approximately 1,500 square feet fewer for storage and the maintenance shop/office area than prior to construction.
Spring said officials are mindful of the fact that safety issues in the Building Condition Survey were cited in proposing construction of a new transportation facility on land adjacent to The Center for Advanced Technology at Mohonasen.
“Our understanding is that those safety concerns can be addressed at a cost of approximately $30,000, according to architects at C.S. Arch, the firm overseeing the capital project,” Spring said. “That figure is approximately $80,000 less than the original proposed cost to demolish a portion of the facility.”
Spring said the function of the facility and the flexibility of the existing Transportation Department site were more significant factors in the district’s decision to propose building a new facility. According to the 2010 Building Condition Survey, the Helderberg Avenue site does not provide an adequate parking area for the bus fleet and drivers to safely operate their vehicles while driving. In addition, the survey found there was not enough space to expand the building to improve the administration area for accessibility and function as well as provide sufficient storage, service and training areas for the Transportation Department.
The new, $7.6 million transportation facility has been constructed on land purchased in 2010 and is set to open in November. The building will have six service bays and a bus wash, helping to better sustain the life of the bus fleet. Constructing the new transportation facility also makes the district eligible to receive aid on the land purchase.
“In any capital project, there are bound to be changes as the project comes to fruition,” Spring said. “While the existing transportation facility is no longer appropriate to house the transportation program and its employees, the building does provide the district with an opportunity to meet some unanticipated district needs with regard to storage space. It also offers expanded parking for adjacent fields, eliminating unsafe parking along the road.”
Spring said moving the transportation department creates 105 additional parking spots for the adjacent fields. Demolition of a portion of the transportation building would have added 31 more parking spots.