by Jessyca Cardinell
The final phase of the 2015-2020 Capital Project for the Gouverneur Central School District is in full swing, as recently the demolition of the Dean building, formerly the Middle School, began.
The Dean building was built through the largess of Mrs. Mira Dean and her daughters Cora and Jennie Dean. A bronze tablet was dedicated to the women in 1914 and was on display until the renovation project started.
“The demolition of the building was not made lightly,” said Superintendent of Schools Lauren French. “With all factors to be considered, the decision was presented to the Board of Education for final approval that we cannot compromise the safety of our students, employees and visitors. The project was presented to voters, through 32 different public presentations and received voter approval. The goal, keeping everyone safe, provide equal access to 21st century education and extend the legacy of the Dean family, which was quality education for the citizens of Gouverneur, will be completed by January 2020.”
The Capital Project began in 2014 with March Associates with a proposed project cost in excess of $42,000,000. As the first proposed project plan was rejected due to it not being financially feasible for the community, March Associates worked on a second proposal which included the addition of four UPK classrooms at the Elementary building, six classrooms and a new gymnasium at the Middle School and ending with the demolition of the Dean Building at the Middle School/High School Complex.
“The proposal allowed for safety and security measures to be addressed, corrected and improved at all three buildings, for all ADA compliance issues to be corrected and for the necessary infrastructure to be addressed within the complex. As a result of the building project, all UPK-4 scholars are housed on the elementary campus, all 5-8 scholars are housed on the middle school campus and the High School will remain at the 9-12 building,” said Mrs. French of the efficiency this proposal would allow the community.
The project is being completed in stages, the first stage was the abatement of asbestos. This phase was then followed by the removal of glass and aluminum frames, doors and items that will be reused in the renovation project. There were marble columns for the original entrance and those have been saved to become part of the new structure in Gouverneur on a site that is yet to be selected. There are other pieces of shaped marble and those will be used in a location of the school district as a permanent display to the history of the district.
“This visual display will include the commemorative plaques, early presentations to Judge James C. Dolan and other artifacts and pictures that commemorate the history of the school system. Anyone with a unique item may want to contact myself, for possible display opportunities,” said Mrs. French.
The beautiful stained glass window, which is reported by Mrs. French to be fondly recalled and remembered by every student attending Gouverneur High School will be included in the new entrance at the school.
“The design calls for the three paneled window to be displayed at each of the three levels of the building, within a protective glass case and lit with LED so that the panels can be viewed 24 hours a day, seven days a week from both interior and exterior vantage points,” said Mrs. French of the new exciting display to be anticipated.
The Gouverneur School District has made great advancements to its educational programs and building infrastructures in the last five years. As it continues to do so there will be some impactful changes to the district, but also a new beginning that embraces the old.