School start date pushed to September 10, preschool will start in mid-October
by Ruth Stodghill
PRIMERO — The Primero School Board held a work session at 3 p.m. on July 31 in order to discuss updates on the construction projects that are currently underway at the school.
Updates were given by Rick Brake from the H.W. Houston construction firm and Cody Knoblock from the architectural company Wold A&E. According to Brake and Knoblock, a number of projects have been completed in the school or are in the process of completion, including new heat pumps, additional classroom spaces, a new fire alarm system, a new sanitation system, a new domestic water system, a highly modified electrical system, a new camera and security system, a new intercom system, and new locker rooms. “The new walls are framed, and the administration area is pretty much up,” said Brake. “If you go into the school, you will see pretty dramatic changes from what the building used to be.”
Brake informed the school board and public that, in consultation with district superintendent Bill Naccarato, the start date for the Primero school district is being pushed to September 10. This will allow for the existing gymnasium, cafeteria, and most classroom spaces to be completed by the new start date. The kindergarten will temporarily be moved to the community center, and the start of preschool will be delayed until mid-October. “A lot of guys are working 10-12 hour days to get this done,” said Brake. “We’re not going to be 100% done – but we’ve got to get you guys open. At least you should be able to start school.”
“This will be one of the nicest campuses in the area when it’s done. Wold put together an incredible vision. We’ve had to adapt and overcome. And we’ve done it,” Brake said.
Due to budget constraints, Brake and Knoblock outlined cuts to landscaping and classroom furniture for the elementary. Infrastructure for additional security cameras, LED lighting in the classrooms, and technology are being laid in now, so that they could potentially be added or completed in the future.
According to Knoblock, “Overall, in terms of the budget, we are still ok. Not much is left over in the district’s contingency plan. We still have things we can cut if we need to. We’re through most of the risky part. The big thing is, we need to not spend any more money right now.”
During public participation, parent Denille LePlatt questioned the board regarding a lack of communication with the community regarding construction updates. “We need some type of communication. Right now, we have nothing,” LePlatt said.
Board Vice President Pat Mestas responded, “We will communicate better. We need to all sit down together and figure out a plan.” Mestas stated that Assistant Business Manager Kristen Alfonso will be posting construction updates on Facebook.
Naccarato said that a letter would go out to staff and parents in the coming week, updating them about the new start date, school calendar, and room assignments.
Action items included a resolution to approve the hiring of Mary Beth DiPaolo as special education teacher, which was unanimously approved.
The board also voted to reject a bid from Geronimo Construction for the painting of the townhouses and community center, and to re-open the bid. Finally, the board voted to post a bid for the purchase of a used Bobcat for the August meeting.
The next construction meeting will be held on August 13 at 9:30 am, and the next school board meeting was set for August 14 at 5:30 pm.