More than 800 Syracuse children are getting a brand new school in just a few months. H.W. Smith was the latest renovation under the Joint Schools Construction project. YNN's Katie Gibas has more on the status.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- It's taken years to get off the ground, but now almost all of the schools in the first phase of the Syracuse district wide reconstruction project are finished. The work is already paying off.
"It really has made a difference. At Fowler for example, we have our electrical technology and cosmetology programs there. We have students requesting transfers into Fowler High School for those specific programs," said Tom Ferrara, the Facilities Director for the Syracuse City School District.
Fowler, the Institute of Technology and Dr. Weeks have already been renovated under the project. The fourth and final school is H.W. Smith. It was built in 1960 and had to be gutted.
"Older schools are a lot of challenge. You have what they call abatement work, asbestos abatement and some of the caulk had some PCBs, items like that. This was all taken out under the contract, before you can even start work," said Tom Haslam, the Project Manager.
The entire building has now been brought up to the latest technological standards, including smart boards in every room.
"The environment is very important to kids learning. If you put kids in a better environment, they will do better academically. Numerous studies have shown that. So we'll have rooms here that will be quieter rooms. They'll have more technology in the room for kids to learn. You'll have assisted listening. The kids will be able to hear the teacher better. They'll be able to see the teacher better. And we know it will pay off," said Ferrara.
It may seem like there is still a lot of work to be done, the project is on schedule. Kids and teachers are expected to start class after Thanksgiving break.
"All the real heavy duty construction, so putting all the piping in for systems, all the HVAC equipment, new boilers, new chillers, the electrical service. All that work is done, so now you're seeing a lot of what we call the finish work. We're putting ceilings in, ceiling tiles in, flooring in," said Ferrara.
Haslam added, "We have a lot to do, a little time, but we're going to do it. We're going to make it."
When teachers and students come back in November, it will look like a brand new school.
The second phase of the joint school construction board project has been approved by the assembly and senate and is waiting on the governor's signature. The project will cost $300 million.