Capital Project to Address Health and Safety at Fairley Elementary

Submitted by Hannibal Central School District

HANNIBAL, NY – Health, safety and accessibility are a primary focus of Hannibal Central School District’s proposed $26.9 million capital project.

The plan, which is set to go before voters November 4, was developed with the goal of maximizing opportunities available through the district’s Expanding our Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) aid that was received during the 2006-07 state funding cycle. Hannibal was awarded $1,298,070 under the state’s EXCEL initiative.

Business Administrator Nancy Henner explained that the project planned at Fairley Elementary School was developed to fit comfortably within three of five EXCEL spending categories.

“Through EXCEL, the district was able to address several needs at Fairley that focus on health and safety, energy and accessibility,” Henner said. “As a result, Hannibal’s EXCEL allocation can be used to meet the district’s local obligation for much needed improvements at our elementary school.”

The design and construction of a new playground at Fairley Elementary is one of several components built into the plan.

“The current wooden playground at Fairley was designed and constructed by the Hannibal community,” Superintendent Michael DiFabio said. “It has been a source of pride for this area for approximately 20 years.”

Upon a positive vote for the capital project, DiFabio said that the district will form a committee of parents and community members who will tackle the design of new playground facilities.

“We don’t want to see the old playground destroyed,” DiFabio said. “But much of the wooden equipment is aging, splintering and is not compliant with the current playground safety standards.”

The committee, DiFabio said, will be given the task of merging the history of the main Fairley playground with the current needs of students as it sets down plans for the future design.

“We want to be able to blend the past and the future,” DiFabio said. “For the main playground, we will remove old structures and construct new that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. We will also do landscaping, a paved play area, walkways, fencing and gathering areas.

“We will use in-kind services and coordinate our efforts with community representatives so that the community as a whole can benefit from the facilities,” he added.

The project will also provide for a safety review of equipment on the south playground at the school and provide additional equipment and fencing to improve the area. Because the plans for the recreational facilities target health and safety needs at the school, they fit into the spending categories allowed under the district’s EXCEL aid, DiFabio explained.

Other efforts at Fairley Elementary that focus on health and safety improvements include:

•    A 100 kilowatt diesel powered emergency generator that will provide power for boilers, pumps, freezers, cooler and life support. The generator would also supply emergency power for lights, heat and ventilation in the cafeteria and gym, creating a safe haven at the school for students and the community.
•    Replace inappropriate luminary lighting in the small gymnasium — the Fitness Lab — which also addresses energy efficiency.
•    Enhance access control and intrusion detection through the implementation of a district-wide security management system. The district will also purchase a video badging system, replace an existing VCR system with a digital video system and network virtual matrix system and lock off the existing vestibule at the school to create a secure area for visitors.
•    Asbestos abatement in the 1967 wing of the building which contains encapsulated asbestos floor tile.
•    Provide exterior soffits on canopies to eliminate bird nesting.
•    Parking lot reconfiguration to improve circulation, safety and increase available parking spaces. A safe drop-off area with curbing, sidewalks and accessible curb cuts will also be designed.
•    Bus loop improvements, including a traffic study to improve flow of bus and parent drop off/pick up. The sidewalk and curb will also be extended to the road, while the asphalt driveway and walkway are widened and squared off to improve access and snow removal efficiency.
•    A DDC System expansion will add freezer/cooler temperature alarms, water alarms at sump pumps and a critical alarm callout feature.
•    An existing expansion joint in the faculty lounge will be replaced with a recessed model, as the current expansion joint has become a tripping hazard.

Improvements that focus on energy at the school include:

•    The replacement of two variable frequency drives and the installation of hot water pumps to efficiently run the HVAC system.
•    Provide or improve heating, ventilation and air conditioning through exhaust fans that will have efficient replacements tied into the DDC system, the replacement of single unit vents in rooms with roof top zone units and the replacement/upgrades for the heating system in halls of older wings.
•    Replace the heating system in the Fitness Lab, interior (corridor pockets) and exterior doors and new acoustical ceiling tiles to improve acoustics, energy efficiency and aesthetics.
•    Provide gooseneck relief vents to replace relief vent dampers and raise curb.
•    Kitchen updates that include the replacement of aging and inefficient equipment such as the dishwater booster heater, a hot food cabinet and the walk-in cooler.
•    To improve accessibility, the district plans to renovate the current restrooms in the 1967 wing and create a single unisex restroom to meet current ADA guidelines.

Henner explained that several enhancements at Fairley that fall outside of the five EXCEL funding categories can be funded through the portion of EXCEL money that the district is allowed to use for “other” expenses.

“Under the rules for EXCEL, 75 percent of the funds have to be used within the five categories,” Henner said. “But the district is given leeway for 25 percent of its allocation. District-wide, we have built a project that almost completely meets the categorical spending so we were able to address several other needs with the 25 percent, which is much more flexible.”

Primarily, the plans for Fairley that fall on the “other” list include a significant overhaul of the 1967 classroom wing. Classrooms, doors, casework, flooring, ceilings and finishes will be completely renovated to bring the wing up-to-date with the rest of the building.

The district also plans to replace the building’s existing clock system with a wireless GPS clock system. Under that system, all buildings will be synchronized to avoid scheduling issues.

Overall, the district’s use of EXCEL Aid, coupled with a 98 percent state reimbursement rate on capital projects, will deliver the multi-million dollar project with no local cost to taxpayers, Henner said.

To prepare for the vote, the district and community groups have planned several informational sessions about the project. The district’s next session is planned for 7 p.m., Oct. 23 at Kenney Middle School cafeteria. A project matrix is also available in all three school buildings that break the project down by building and cost.

The public vote will be held from 12:00 to 9:00 p.m., November 4 in the Board of Education room at the Hannibal High School. Any questions about the project can be directed to DiFabio or Henner at 564-7900. Information about the vote is also available on the district web site at