Building Improvements Aids Safety, Security And Learning At Riley School

OSWEGO, NY – There is a new look to the interior of the Charles E. Riley Elementary School, but in the months ahead the evolution will see a much improved building which will enhance the safety and security of its students.

As part of the voter approved Excel Capital Project major renovation work is currently under way at the east side Oswego elementary school.

Work continues to enhance Riley Elementary School
Work continues to enhance Riley Elementary School

Principal Mary Beth Fierro said, “When you walk in you are going to see something quite different. The ceilings have been taken out in many parts of the building including in the main lobby, down the hallways and in a couple of classrooms. During the most recent Christmas break the floor was taken out of the all-purpose room as well as the art room, reading suite and two classrooms.”

The project was moving along smoothly until it came to removing the adhesive from the floors.

The product used for the removal of the mastic has been used at projects throughout the nation without a problem.  However, for some unknown reason there was a distinct odor as a result of using the substance on the floors.

CER head custodian Steve Quesnell said, “District personnel as well as construction and manufacturing representatives tried several different ways to remove the odor. Windows were opened, fans were in place, negative air pressure ventilation was utilized and most recently we have flash patched the cracks to seal the floors. This has worked.”

Additional work was necessary in the reading suite as some of the cleaning substance soaked into the dry wall.  Those dry walls have been replaced.

Fierro noted, “The smell is subsiding. It has been a cooperative effort with a lot of extra effort from our custodial staff, our teachers, and the construction company. This odor had not been present in any of the previous projects that Campus Construction has been involved in, including Phoenix. The New York State Labor Department came in and evaluated the odor and has determined that we were well within all safety guidelines.”

The first-year principal is anxiously looking forward to the completion of the project.

She said, “This will be beautiful. The majority of the work will be done during the summer and our new entrance should be ready for the opening of the new school year. We will also have an updated nurse’s office.”

Continuing she said, “Our front doors will remain in place and will be unlocked for students to enter. However, once the students are inside they will go to a lock mode and the late arriving students as well as visitors will enter through the main office which will allow us to focus on who is entering the school.”

Not only will there be a new entrance to the building, but new ceilings and floors will be installed, asbestos abatement will take place and the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system will be much up-to-date.

A new fire alarm, public address system and cameras are also the focus of this renovation.

Educating children continues on a daily basis at Charles E. Riley Elementary School.

Fierro hopes anyone with questions or concerns would please contact her.

She said, “I am more than willing to provide opportunities for visitors (parents or community members) to tour Riley elementary. We have quite a bit of work to do, but I want to be sure to let everyone know that my door is open. We want the parents and community members to see what is going on and welcome all interested to give me a call and come over to tour the building.”

The project is moving along and Fierro noted this was a team effort.

“We are getting unbelievable support from our custodial staff, the district level administrators and maintenance personnel, board members and faculty as well as our students and their parents. Everyone has risen to the challenge and working hard to achieve our ultimate goal of a safer and more secure environment for our students.”

In closing she said, “The positives outweigh the negatives on this and the end result will be more than worth what we have gone through to achieve the much needed improvements.”