by Kathleen Duff
The Grand Island High School technology wing and the proposed transportation center were discussed by administrators and trustees at the Monday evening meeting of the Grand Island Board of Education.
The technology wing is part of the $51 million-plus capital project approved by voters that will renovate the five district school buildings. Kim Williams and Bill Zografos of Cannon Design presented three schematic options, each different in square footage and cost, and cautioned the board to choose one so the construction could stay on schedule.
All three options included 21,000-plus square footage for classrooms. These spaces are approximately 80 percent "state aidable." Other spaces such as data closets, hallways, student bathrooms and storage areas are not eligible for state aid even though they are necessary to the wing.
After some discussion, trustees decided on the least expensive option, which has all classroom space but no professional development meeting room. The estimated tax impact on a Grand Island home valued at $200,000 would be $6.49, said Director of Business and Finance Joe Giarrizzo. Superintendent of Schools Robert Christmann commented that the technology wing is important to the district's engineering program, called "Project Lead the Way," and that the new space would more fully service students interested in the high school's technology courses.
Regarding the proposed new loop (access) road and transportation center behind Charlotte Sidway School, Baseline Road resident Betty Kaeffer told the board that homeowners living across from Sidway are concerned about how the road would impact the value of their homes. She and her husband traveled to Hamburg to view that district's loop road. Kaeffer said that the road is in an "isolated area" with no homes. She and her husband are "totally opposed" to the road.
In a related item, Giarrizzo said that he investigated a piece of land located between the Grand Island Post Office and the Rite Aid drugstore on Baseline and Grand Island Boulevard as an alternate site for the loop road entrance. Giarizzo said that someone has already signed a sale contract for the land. At a public meeting with school officials last month, Baseline Road residents expressed interest in locating the entrance closer to Grand Island Boulevard rather than the planned access between St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church and the athletic fields adjacent to Sidway.
Miscellaneous items before the board were:
•Director of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Cuddy-Miller said the district will begin an iPad program for teachers.
•A building naming policy is forthcoming. Grand Island resident Reg Schopp told the board that he and many other people feel that the high school auditorium should carry the name of the late William and Marion Pinkow, former Island music teachers.
•The State Education Department has selected Grand Island for a weight survey of its students.
•All district employees will have a W-2 form notation regarding the cost of their health care.