Plan includes new bus garage and several safety/security upgrades

The Naples Central School Board of Education heard about a proposed $7.72 million capital project last week.

The plan, which will require voter approval, would involve building a new bus garage and creating a new parent drop-off loop, new bus loop, and new parking layout at the elementary school, along with a secure, upgraded entrance and office at the elementary school.

The project would be paid for using state building aid and money from the district’s capital reserve fund.

There would be “no tax impact or tax increase as result of project,” according to the plan.

“Student safety is our first priority,” says Superintendent Matt Frahm. He presented details of the proposal that included maps, charts, and photos. Photos showed the aging, outdated bus garage built in 1948, and the current traffic congestion at the elementary school among other problems.

Mitchell Ball, assistant superintendent for business, says the existing garage next to the junior/senior high school has maintenance problems ranging from leaks to cramped space that makes it more difficult for buses to maneuver and stay in good shape. If buses have rust they don’t pass inspection, he says.

“The buses themselves have outgrown the space,” says Ball.

Victor Tomaselli, senior principal with SEI Design Group, who has worked on school capital projects since 2009, talked about code issues that need to be addressed.

The old bus garage would be torn down, with that area returned to green space and incorporating between 25 and 35 new parking spaces. The district would buy 3.75 acres from Hazlitt Red Cat Cellars to build the new bus garage in a current vineyard adjacent to the elementary school property. The new 10,500-square-foot bus garage would include a new fuel island and storage area.

The elementary school would receive a new parent drop-off loop, new bus loop, and new parking layout. Construction would change the traffic and pedestrian patterns for more safe movement for cars, buses and walkers. The elementary school would also receive a new, secure entry to the main office. The project would also include upgraded flooring in the main lobby and office.

Board members were pleased with the plan and commended the committee and others involved in putting together the package of improvements.

In a tentative timetable, the Board of Education will vote on the proposal March 27, with a public information period March 28 through May 16 when mailers and brochures go out to district residents.

A public information meeting is targeted for May 16. If approved, construction would take place during the 2018/2019 timeframe, with the bulk of work to take place during summer recess. Work taking place when school is in session should not interfere with regular operations, Tomaselli says.