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Major renovations to transform building into East Aurora kindergarten center

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Updated: March 24, 2014 6:34AM

AURORA — The building at 250 E. Indian Trail has a leaky ceiling, soggy carpets and no power, but by August East Aurora officials plan to transform the formerly foreclosed property into a high-tech kindergarten center.

“Everything will be brand new,” said Marty Feltes, who oversees the district’s buildings and grounds department. “You’ll never recognize it for the space that it is, once it’s done.”

The district purchased the 19,000-square-foot building for $425,000 late last year from a bank that was holding the property after it went into foreclosure in 2012.

The building is the former home of the Family and Faith Christian Church, which had dissolved and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy four years earlier.

Contractors have their work cut out for them.

As heavy rains and melting snow caused some minor flooding outside on Thursday, drops of water fell from the ceiling inside, leaving water puddles on the carpet and tile floor.

Parts of the ceiling have fallen down and a note from ComEd posted to the front door says the electricity was turned off more than two years ago.

Tables, turned-over chairs and a cash register were left in the kitchen. Red and white curtains still hang behind a stage and church donation envelopes litter the floor.

Feltes said the district plans to “start fresh” with most of the existing building. New drain lines, sprinklers, heating and cooling systems and electricity will be installed. The ceilings and walls will be replaced and the carpet will be ripped up.

The district plans to nearly double the building in size with a 17,000-square-foot addition, which will be in front of the existing structure and to the west, Feltes said. An outdoor play area also will be added west of the building.

Friday morning, the district read aloud the bids it has received for four construction contracts: one each for electrical work, heating and cooling, plumbing and general trades, which includes work on the structure, cement, roof, walls, ceilings and floors.

On Monday and Tuesday the district will interview the lowest bidders to make sure they met all the bid requirements and have the proper insurance. If all goes smoothly, the contracts could go to the School Board for a vote on March 3 and construction on the add-on could start shortly after that.

Feltes said the district is looking to award four separate contracts instead of giving the full job to one contractor who subcontracts out specific tasks, as the district did during last summer’s fast-paced East Aurora High School construction.

This approach is “more favorable to the district,” Feltes said, and is possible because there is a longer construction timeline. The East High construction was done on an “aggressive” timetable, contractors said, cost more than was expected and required paying crews overtime to finish in time for the start of school.

The first step in updating the kindergarten center will be removing the asbestos that remains in the glue holding down the carpet, Feltes said. The School Board approved a $38,000 contract a few days ago to remove the asbestos, which has to be done before any construction happens in the existing structure.

A consultant is applying for a work permit from the state to begin, Feltes said, and then the removal will take about 10 days.

The district’s architects advised East Aurora officials in a letter to approve an asbestos removal plan as quickly as possible because getting a permit to remove it “takes several weeks and any delay could jeopardize the [project’s] completion date of August 1, 2014.”

The rest of the construction project’s timeline hinges on contractors being able to access the existing building by mid-March, the letter said.

School Board President Annette Johnson has said the district is prepared to spend up to $9 million to purchase, renovate, add on to and furnish the kindergarten center. The goal is to make it a one-to-one computing center, similar to the district’s magnet academy.

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