A message from Dr. Mundell – capital project update

Dear BKW Community,

 In recent weeks, BKW administrators and supervisors have worked closely with architects and construction managers to ensure NYSED’s final approval of our capital project plans. We received that approval, effective March 30, 2019.

 The project was advertised and potential bidders received specifications for their respective trades. Those bids are due on Tuesday, April 9 and will be opened publicly in the secondary cafeteria at approximately 3:30 p.m. According to General Municipal Law in NYS, contracts are awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder in each area of the project for which there is bidding. The contracts should be ready for Board approval by the end of the week.

 Actual renovation and construction begins on June 26 in the secondary school. The first steps will include moving guidance offices, the nurse’s office, and the main office to the front of the building along Rt. 443 and creating a secure entry from the parking lot. Contractors will then:

  • Expand the current lobby to safely accommodate large groups,
  • Convert the current main office area into a wireless laptop computer lab,
  • Convert the current guidance office into an Agricultural Science center,
  • Completely wire the entire building with the latest technology infrastructure to accommodate digital learning and community access, and
  • Transform the current parking lot between the two buildings into a safe, traffic-free courtyard for learning and social space.

 In the Elementary School, contractors will complete asbestos abatement by September. Work then begins renovating classrooms. That work will be done in phases, renovating blocks of six rooms at time. As each section is complete, we will move students into those classrooms, freeing up the next area for renovation. To free up that space for construction, we will temporarily house sixth grade students at the secondary school for the 2019-20 school year.

To ensure student and staff safety, temporary walls will isolate work zones, preventing anyone from mistakenly entering the area. Contractors will only work 3:30-11 p.m. to avoid disrupting our young scholars. We will update our families and communities of our progress as we approach the new school year.

In addition to classroom upgrades, the elementary cafeteria will be modified to double as a space for meetings, complete with technology and sound systems. New high-efficiency hot water furnaces and piping will economically heat the building. Energy efficient windows will lower energy costs. Masonry repairs will protect and preserve the building’s historic architecture, a building our community views with great pride. And finally, site work will redesign bus traffic flow and create a separate visitor lot which will improve student safety, especially at arrival and dismissal times.

We expect the secondary school phase to be complete by the start of school in September, 2019. We expect all elementary phases to be complete by September, 2020.

This is an exciting time for all parties. We know the next 18 months will be inconvenient, but once finished, Berne-Knox-Westerlo schools will be 21st-century facilities with greatly enhanced value for the community. We appreciate our community’s support throughout the long process through the building condition survey, project scope development, public referendum, detailed planning, and NYSED approval. We still have work to do, but we are in the home stretch. Your efforts are about to bring to life a facility with that matches our students’ needs. Thank you for that support and patience.

 They are because we are.


 Dr. Timothy Mundell
Superintendent of Schools