2012-08-29 / Front Page

Haldane & Garrison to Sparkle for Opening

Area schools ready for first day
By Tim Greco

The Garrison School. Photo / Annie ChesnutThe Garrison School. Photo / Annie Chesnut

Sparkling clean schools await the return of Haldane and Garrison students on Wednesday when classes resume for the year.

Monday, Dr. Mark Villanti, superintendent of schools at Haldane, took the School Board on a tour of both the elementary/middle and high school at the Haldane complex.

Villanti pointed out that the high school’s walkway, steps and landing in front of the doors were thoroughly scraped of any chewing gum. “I’m really proud of the maintenance that was done this summer.” All the stair rails were painted and looked like new.

Coming into the building, Villanti showed the board two bathrooms that had been renovated into two guidance counselors’ offices. The school staff felt that it would be valuable to have a middle school counselor at the high school to help the ninth graders in their transition and, with an abundance of restrooms available, it seemed a natural choice. Both offices were painted and you could not tell what their former use was.

High School Principal Brian Alm said of the work that was done over the summer: “It was fast, efficient and good; this is the best summer we ever had.”

Every floor shined, as a new product was used this year to keep the shine on the floor lasting longer. Villanti also pointed out a number of healthy food machines that were available, where students can pre-pay online and put a code in to access the food. Villanti noted that in the high school, everyone has the same lunch period, to try to foster a sense of community.

Among the major additions is a ventilation system in the elementary/middle school. Also, renovations were made to the former copy room, at the back of the gym/auditorium and directly across the stage. New windows were installed and a new projection room, complete with a new projector and lighting system, is to be installed at a future date. Villanti stated it will be nice not to have to move the equipment and have it locked up when not in use. “The projector is $28,000 but we are getting it for half price,” said Villanti. The entire overhaul project will be done in phases, part of a capital project budgeted at $100,000.

Jon Champlin, a board member and advocate for athletic field repairs, pointed out that the playing fields are an ongoing problem. Champlin noted a continuing drainage problem and stated that when it rains the water has nowhere to go, so the students might have to wait a few days to use the fields until the water dissipates. “The future plan is to dig the area out and use a mixture of gravel and sand, which would make a compressible base, and put synthetic turf on top of that, with built-in drainage underneath that.”

He noted the next meeting on the fields is September 11. The tour then continued across the street, where work was being done to the Perkins ball field. Here, a backstop and fencing were removed last week.

The lot will be reseeded with a new backstop and fence, with work to begin next week. The tour concluded in the boiler room, where the installation of the second massive boiler was underway. The first was installed last year.

Meanwhile, at Garrison Union Free School, Superintendent Gloria Colucci stated that work on the building has been completed, including stripping and polishing of all floors throughout.

The lower parking lot has been sealed and re-striped and the old rusted storage barns have been torn down and everything moved to the new storage building.

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