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Winding down Joint Schools Construction project

WBFO News file photo

Buffalo's billion-and-a-half-dollar Joint Schools reconstruction project is winding down with only one-school unfinished after September.  Six-rehabbed buildings re-open with the start of classes. That leaves only School 59 which will be done by January.

The Joint Schools Construction Board met on Monday. The board closed out the project's Phase four and came close to the end of Phase three.

A small group of the members approved paying more than $3-million in the latest round of bills on the project. That's for the basic work.

Joint Schools facilities director Paul McDonnell said there are millions of dollars being spent this summer on repairs on some re-built schools.

"We're spending a few million dollars, I would say two or three-million dollars on some of the renovations. The renovations include things that we weren't able to get to as part of the Joint Schools Construction Board. As you know, we had a maximum cost allowance that the state limited. And the other thing is that some of the early schools have been open now for almost eight to ten-years. So, now we have to go back and do some work either because of  program changes or just because things are wearing out," said McDonnell.

That's projects like a new gym curtain to replace folding doors now a half-century old at Performing Arts. When the buildings were fixed up, Albany set limits on how much it would help pay for on each structure and some things weren't done. 

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.