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posted: 5/28/2014 5:30 AM

Fix old, rent, or build new Batavia school maintenance building?

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Batavia school board members want more information about the likely longevity of the district's maintenance building before deciding whether to make safety-related repairs, build a new building, or lease space.

The pole barn, built in the 1960s to house the district's buses, has at least five more years of life in it, buildings-and-grounds director Patrick Browne told the board's finance committee Tuesday afternoon.

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The district has identified $135,000 worth of plumbing and life-safety repairs required for the building, including installing fire alarms and a fire-suppression system. But the district also plans to knock down the building someday to put in a parking lot, part of athletic-field renovations for Batavia High School.

However, the field renovations do not have a schedule. Some baseball field improvements were made last year, and the board is talking about replacing the football stadium field next year. The plan also calls for a new home grandstand and a larger track.

Board President Cathy Dremel said the estimated cost is almost equal to the estimated annual rent of $144,000 the district would pay if it leased-to-own a building. The district has identified an industrial building on the 800 block of West Main Street that could be bought on a 10-year contract. That plan would cost an estimated $3.1 million for purchase and renovation of 25,000 square feet of space. The current building is 20,000 square feet.

The third option is to build a new facility, at an estimated cost of $3.66 million.

Browne said the district would like any replacement facility to be near the high school, the largest school in the district, rather than in industrial areas near Kirk Road.

There isn't much land zoned for light-industrial use in western Batavia. The city has identified the vacant Siemens-Furnas site at Van Nortwick Avenue and Wilson Street for mixed-use commercial and retail use.

The committee asked Browne to provide numbers on potential savings to the district from having a new building. He said, for example, that more vehicle maintenance could be done in-house, as a new building would have a lift that could handle its trucks. A new building could also be used to store more supplies bought in bulk. That could include paper, which needs to be stored in a controlled-humidity environment, he said.

The committee will discuss the matter more at its June meeting.

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