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Ripley sets school vote on fire alarm system

September 2, 2017
By David Prenatt - , Westfield Republican

RIPLEY - In the view of the state of New York, Ripley Central School District's deteriorating fire alarm system is a "hybrid emergency," which will allow the district to put the project out for bid before receiving official approval, Board of Education members learned at their regular meeting Thursday, Aug. 17.

Edmund Schober and Mike Rogalinski of the architectural firm LaBella updated board members on the status of the project to replace the current fire alarm system.

"It hasn't failed yet, but it will," Schober said, referring to the current fire alarm system. "Therefore the state is allowing us to put it out for bids before final approval."

Article Photos

Edmund Schober updates the board on the system.

Schober said the project will be submitted to the state education department on Sept. 22, after the Sept. 19 public vote.

LaBella is already preparing the documents for bid, he said. Construction is expected to begin in late November, with completion by January 2018.

Schober told the board the total cost of replacing the current fire alarm system would be approximately $280,000.

The cost will be amortized over 15 years, he said, and normally 90 percent of this is reimbursed by the state. Rogalinski, an engineer from LaBella said that the current system will remain operational until the new system is completely installed and tested. Then the old system will be removed.

Rogalinski said the new system will include ceiling-mounted speakers instead of horns, new visual devices, a whole new wiring system, and a new fire alarm panel that has the capacity to support expansion in the future.

The district also looked at the less expensive option of rewiring and repairing the existing system. However, Schober said, several audible/visual devices do not work, the fire shutter door does not close properly, smoke detection does not accurately report, the wiring throughout the building is jumbled, and the existing control panel has become obsolete .

"With all these things, it is our recommendation at this time to replace it," Schober said.

District Superintendent Dr. Lauren Ormsby told the LaBella representatives, "It has come to our attention that some of the work that was done 10 years ago was not done correctly. Who is going to make sure that this doesn't happen again?"

Rogalinski explained that the new system is be fully tested and inspected. Properly installed and maintained, the typical fire alarm system has a 20- or 30-year life expectancy, he added.

Ormsby also asked if the new system would service the entire building, including the town side. The LaBella representatives responded that the town hall part of the building would be serviced by the new system.

In another matter, three candidates for tenure, Kristie Bentley, Rebecca Humberg, and Elizabeth Wodinski were brought before the board, as well as a new teacher recommendation for second grade, Danni Lynn Riley.

Each nominee was presented by Ormsby, who outlined the candidate's strengths. Each woman then addressed the board and requested approval. The board voted to accept all four candidates.

Ormsby gave board members an update on the district's advancement over the summer.

"Ben (Spitzer) and I traveled to the NYSED conference in Cooperstown to give a presentation on what comes after tuitioning," she said.

Ormsby said she and several district faculty members attended a four-day leadership induction conference for EL schools in Washington, DC. As a new EL school, Ripley was assigned a mentor school to guide them through the formation period.

"We have our plan all mapped out in draft form," she said.

Ormsby told board members that several ideas, which are currently being implemented, came out of the time spent at the conference in Washington.

Registration Day is designed to streamline the back to school process and improve communication between parents and school, Ormsby said. The event, which will be held on Aug. 28 from 10:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., will allow parents to complete paperwork, drop off school supplies, ask questions of the staff and be present for their children's school pictures. "This is completely optional," Ormsby noted.

Ormsby said the district will be hosting a community picnic on Sept. 1, where Ripley residents can meet the faculty and staff. "It's about opening our doors to the community," she added.

"We are also planning collaborative meetings to improve group communication and provide an opportunity to ask and answer questions of each other," Ormsby told board members.

Another new idea to be implemented is that of a Crew Council, Ormsby said, "since all of us, as a school - we are Crew."

This will be a shared leadership team, she added.

Kimberly Oakes, director of Innovative Programming, gave board members an update on the Smart Schools Investment Plan.

"Our second Smart Schools plan, the Wireless Project, was finally approved," she said. "Work to rewire the entire building for technology should begin in November, and take 6-8 weeks to complete."

Oakes also told the board that Pre-K had a visit from the NYSED, and "the rep was blown away by the progress we've made within a year," she said.

Oakes also said the district was going to try "looping" this year.

"Looping is an essentially simple concept: a teacher moves with his or her students to the next grade level, rather than sending them to another teacher at the end of the school year," Oakes explained.

"We're going to start small with this idea. When we mentioned it to the parents, they were thrilled," she added.



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