PYA long time coming

Gwen Chamberlain
Key people at the PYA dedication included (from left) board of education members Jeff Bray, Anita Maroscher, Mike Van Wormer, Vice President Kathy Guenther, President Jeff Morehouse, Elizabeth Warren and Ryan Hallings; Superintendent Ann Orman, Amanda Thomas and Jim King from King & King Architects.

 A low-key celebration and dedication ceremony at Penn Yan Academy last Friday marked the end of a project that began more than 20 years ago, when school district leaders first began talking about the need to upgrade the environment for academy students.

Students, faculty, staff, administrators, board members, contractors,  retirees, graduates, parents and community members gathered at Penn Yan Academy on Jan. 28 for the dedication ceremony of the newly renovated building.

The brief dedication ceremony included a ribbon cutting, comments from key people and a display of  items that had been sealed in a time capsule when the original academy was built in the early 1960s and the new items that will be added to those items for a new time capsule.

Before Principal David Pullen and Superintendent Ann Orman cut the orange and blue ribbon stretched in front of the auditorium entrance, each spoke briefly.

Bill Goodrich, president and CEO of LeChase Construction, the construction management firm, noted the project was completed within budget and on schedule. He called the renovation a smart investment for the Penn Yan community that was completed through the cooperation of several team members.

“But at the end of the day, you have to have strong leadership, and the Penn Yan community can be very proud of the Penn Yan School District leadership,” he said, adding, “And the spirit of leadership at the helm is Ann (Orman).”

Goodrich said the project was a very important project for his company because of the legacy it celebrates.

Penn Yan Academy graduate Lyle Corey, who was an executive at LeChase before his sudden death in 2010, was instrumental in the project. Goodrich said Corey, who was a 25 year employee of LeChase was very proud of the project. “This was his baby,” he remarked.

“It’s been a fun ride,” said Jim King of King and King Architects who has been working with the school district on the new school or school renovation project since 1988.

After cutting the ribbon and inviting the visitors to tour the building, Pullen unveiled a replica of the plaque that will be installed on the wall outside the auditorium.

The school board decided to pursue the concept of a new building on a new campus in 2001, but district voters turned that proposition down in 2003.

Subsequently,  committees were formed and consultants were hired to put together a plan for renovation and expansion of the existing 1964 building.