Costs nudge upward on ICC capital plan

KINDERHOOK–The Ichabod Crane Board of Education approved an agreement with Western NY Educational Services Council to conduct a superintendent search. The motion the board passed at the meeting Monday night said the district will pay the company $17,000 plus expenses (capped at $5,000) for the search.

Members of the board’s committee for the superintendent search said they met with four different companies that applied to do the search. The board had sent out a request for proposals from search companies and individuals earlier in the summer.

Board member Regina Rose, who is on the committee and was reporting to the full board about the interviews, said that with Interim Superintendent Lee Bordick’s guidance the committee was able to sort through the candidates and agreed on Western NY Educational Services Council as the best choice.

Former superintendent Michael Vanyo resigned at the end of June after being out of the district since April when he was arrested for a DWI and leaving the scene of a property damage incident in Saratoga County. He was on leave until May when he worked remotely to help with the transition. For the end of the school year, the board appointed Assistant Superintendent Suzanne Guntlow as interim superintendent and in June they hired Mr. Bordick as interim with a contract that will run until December.

Ms. Rose said that all the consultants the board met with said they could have the search completed by the end of December.

The board hired Mr. Vanyo in 2017 after the former superintendent George Zini retired after about four years. During the search for Mr. Vanyo, the board used Questar III/BOCES.

Also at the July 28 meeting, the board heard an update from CSArch and Turner Construction on the $27 million capital project going on in the district.

Dan Woodside, from CSArch, the design firm, said that Phase 2 of the project is now in “the design development phase.” Phase 2 includes major work at the high school and middle school buildings, including an addition on the technology wing in the high school and upgrades to all three of the “pods” or groups of classrooms in the middle school and work to raise the middle school gym roof.

“It’s really a project that focuses on STEAM,” said Mr. Woodside of the work in the high school with upgrades to the science, math and art rooms as well as the technology addition. He also said the project includes moving all the high school guidance offices to one area and secure entrances at all the school buildings, including the primary school.

During his presentation, Mr. Woodside said of the plans, “Constantly we’re going back to staff, reviewing this with staff.”

Mr. Woodside also talked about everything being complete by 2022 so they will be phasing in work “within the next three years.” Not all the work can be done over the summer when students are not in the buildings, so Mr. Woodside said that figuring out how to work around the staff and students is part of the process. He said that will take some work to figure out.

Mr. Bordick said that the district is meeting with representatives from the neighboring Schodack schools about how that district worked around a major construction project in their buildings.

“It’s going to be a challenge” he said.

Later in the meeting board member Jeffrey Ouellette asked about having to find temporary classroom space if needed. Mr. Woodside said that would come with a cost and would need to be approved by the state Education Department (SED).

“We’re going to try to avoid that,” he said.

Construction is already under way on Phase 1 of the project, with work on the roof replacement in the 100 wing of the high school set to be completed by the end of the summer and repairs already made on the roof above the high school auditorium. In September work will start on the connector road between the middle school and the primary school.

Larry Tune, from Turner Construction, was also at the meeting to discuss the cost of project, saying they were currently about 2% over the estimated budget but that the designs are still being worked on. “At least at this stage of the game, we’re very comfortable,” he said of the numbers.

“That gap will likely close,” said Mr. Woodside of the difference in the costs and the estimates.

When asked by board Vice President John Antalek about not being under budget, which he thought the project would be after finding some savings in Phase 1, Mr. Tune said, “There are areas that went up and areas that went down…. [there are] pluses or minuses felt all the way through.”

Mr. Woodside also talked about the approval time from SED for projects going down dramatically so that the project will most likely get approval sooner then originally planned and the board will not have to spend money to move that process along faster with a third party review.

Also at the meeting:

• The board heard from Assistant Superintendent Guntlow and the administrators from the primary school and middle school about end of the year academic reports. The state has not released testing data but the administrators talked about assessment tools they use. They also discussed intervention programs for the student struggling in the middle school–mostly the group of students who just finished 7th grade and will be in 8th grade in September

• Mr. Bordick said that the district is interviewing teachers and will have a full staff in September.

The next regular meeting will be Tuesday, August 20 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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