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Board approves modular classroom purchase; Wellwood tennis courts taken offline

With construction at Wellwood Middle School anticipated to begin this spring, Fayetteville-Manlius School District architects have been working with a fabricator to finalize design and construction of an eight-classroom modular building that will be located behind Wellwood and used for temporary classroom space during the project. 

On Feb. 28, the F-M Board of Education approved purchasing the classroom suite for $1.2 million from Modular Genius so that the district could move forward with its plans to install the temporary structure this summer. The district plans to use the structure during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

The cost of purchasing the unit was similar to the cost of leasing it, Superintendent Craig J. Tice said, noting that the removal and storage of the classroom suite will be the district’s responsibility rather than the fabricator’s. 

“We are excited that our plans for this portion of the project are coming together,” Tice said. “One of the benefits of owning the modular classroom suite is that we will be able to use it in future capital projects if there is a need to shift students out of existing educational spaces, eliminating the need to go through this design process again and pay for the lease of another unit.”

An enclosed corridor will connect the modular suite to Wellwood so that students and staff will remain indoors as they travel to and from the building to the temporary classroom space. 

Each classroom in the modular unit will be equipped with the instructional technology that both teachers and students use on a daily basis so there will be a seamless transition from their classrooms within the school to the classrooms within the modular unit. It will also have heat and air conditioning and include both student and staff restrooms.

Pre-construction work has already begun at Wellwood, with groundbreaking for the new addition and entryway anticipated later this spring. A construction staging area will be set up next to Wellwood, facing Fayetteville Elementary School, and have fencing around it to safeguard students and community members. 

Wellwood tennis courts taken offline

A construction management trailer and the temporary classrooms will be located on the district’s tennis courts behind Wellwood. Because of this, the tennis courts will not be available for district or community use throughout the project, which is expected to be completed by September 2022. 

“Wellwood’s tennis courts made the most sense as the site for the modular suite because of their proximity to the school,” Tice said. “We invite those community members who recreationally used Wellwood’s tennis courts to visit our courts at the high school and Eagle Hill Middle School.”

Like any of the district’s athletic fields or facilities, such as the turf field and track, the district welcomes the public to use the facilities when they are not in use by the district for physical education classes or interscholastic sports team practices or contests, Tice said. 

For information on when the Eagle Hill or high school courts are open to the public, contact the district’s facility use coordinator, Federica Panozzo, at 315-692-1930 or by email at fpanozzo@fmschools.org.

Final phase of 2017 capital project

The work at Wellwood will conclude the district’s $45.2 million capital project that voters approved in 2017. 

The total project includes an addition at Enders Road Elementary, which was completed in September, and a renovation of F-M High School’s bathrooms and library media center, which students and staff began using in November. The project also includes energy efficiency improvements district wide, such as new lighting that was installed at the high school athletic stadium. 

At Wellwood, the district’s oldest building with portions dating back to 1933, construction will include a 15,000-square-foot addition and new main entrance facing Fayetteville Elementary School, creation of a new, enlarged parking lot in front of the addition, new athletic fields and renovations to existing classrooms, including asbestos abatement and infrastructure upgrades.