The exterior site of the new science wing has been prepared for construction, district officials said. Photos courtesy Rye City School District

District: High school construction project underway, under budget

A great deal of progress has been made since June’s groundbreaking for the Rye City School District’s new high school science wing, according to district officials.

The timeline for the $16 million, year-long construction project is moving along according to schedule and under budget, said Assistant Superintendent for Business Gaby O’Connor, with estimates of expenses below the $16.3 million voter approved bond passed in March 2012.

Residents of the school district voted in favor of a bond proposal for a two-story science facility, which converts seven science classrooms in the existing building into nine regular classrooms.

Earlier this summer, four existing portable classrooms were removed from the area adjacent to Milton Road, and fencing was assembled as part of site exterior preparation for the project, which is now complete. Actual construction of the wing is expected to start soon.

The removal of the portable classrooms allows for the creation of 10 additional traditional classrooms.

The school district has been in touch with the city administration regarding traffic flow near the project area, according to O’Connor, who said there will be additional staff on-site in the parking areas during the first two weeks of school to direct traffic.

City Manager Scott Pickup said all 10 school-area crosswalks in the city are currently staffed, but at least two more will need to be added to accommodate the school construction project.

The city is waiting to see the way their current arrangement works at the start of school, Sept. 9, as the configuration of pick-ups and drop-offs for the faculty lot has been changed.

“We may put an additional [crosswalk] on Boston Post Road to cross people that are going to be parking within the temporary lot,” said Pickup, who added the positions have not yet been filled for the newer crosswalks.

As far as a long-term plan for managing traffic flow, the city and the district are still working on a more feasible long-term solution, as construction continues over the next year.

In December 2012, city officials approved two new crossing guard positions in the 2013-2014 budget, using $20,000 of funding that had been earmarked for police materials and supplies.

In July, the City Council voted to outsource the city’s crossing guard services, normally handled by the police department, to All City Management Services for up to $157,995 for a yearlong contract.

Police Commissioner William Connors proposed this solution in April because police had difficulty finding viable local candidates to staff the city’s eight school crosswalks, but the construction project at the high school necessitates an increase in the number of crosswalks to 10.

The closest crosswalk to the project at Apawamis and Milton roads may continue to use a police parking officer, who has been in place for the last year.

Another effect of the new configuration is that buses for the school’s sports teams’ away games will no longer be able to line-up in the area.

Currently, three interior classrooms are still under construction, but will be completed in time for the start of school, according to district officials.

As scheduled, sports locker rooms will be refurbished by the end of September. The wrestling room and storage room near the gym will be used as changing rooms during this portion of the construction process.