Fixes proposed for Mill Road school

Red Hook’s school board is weighing the costs and benefits of a proposed multimillion-dollar capital project for the Mill Road primary and intermediate school building.

The project would update the boiler system and replace windows, ventilation systems and technology infrastructure. Proposed costs range between $2 million and $9 million, depending on the scope of what’s done.

Perry Sheldon, director of facilities and operations for the school district, presented the proposal at the Nov. 28 school board meeting. “It’s always part of facilities department to look at ‘what do we need to be working on next,’ “ he said, “not waiting for things to fall down around us before we take action.”

The proposal reflects the findings of a building condition survey completed in 2010, by Tetra Tech Architects & Engineers, the school district’s architect of record. The survey is required by the state education department every five years.

Mill Road’s 3-5 side was opened in 1968 and the K-2 side was added in 1971. The items now in need of repair are original to the building and have been well-maintained but are showing signs of age and becoming costly to repair, according to Sheldon.

The proposal was laid out in three priority levels to give the school board a sense of which projects are most urgent.

Approximate costs for each element of the project were also listed to give a basic sense of the potential debt load that would be incurred. “My firm sees a lot of districts who are struggling to respond to the economy, to live within their means. That’s why we felt it was very important to give the district these scenarios for not only what needs to be done, but what can be afforded at this point,” said Garrett Hamlin, who represented Tetra Tech at the meeting.

Replacing the boilers in both sides of the building is first priority, according to the proposal.

Sheldon explained that the boilers have been well-maintained, which has allowed them to serve beyond their 25-year life expectancy. However, that also means that whole sections must now be replaced, which can cost $17,000 to $25,000 per section. Two such repairs have already taken place in the last five years.

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