The Auburn Board of Education met this week for design presentations for J.F. Drake Middle School and Cary Woods Elementary, with work for both projects expected to start this summer. 

The first phase of work on the estimated $19 million Drake Middle School project would begin this summer and include the demolition of the media center, the annex building by the old bus stop, and a hallway coming off the media center that contains four classrooms. Demolition work would be completed before the start of the school year in August.

"This was the wing where in the original school, it's where kids gathered. It’s where they went first thing in the morning ... based on conversations with alumni, so this will continue to be the gathering place. We'll have a special place here for a memorial, memorabilia. It's maintaining a piece of that, but in a different way," said Auburn City Schools Superintendent Karen DeLano, who noted that they worked hard to maintain the historic wing just as it was, but that it wasn't possible. "We worked very hard to maintain that room just as it was, but in order to have a gathering place for performances and assemblies and things of that nature, it just was not possible. So in providing that integrity of the original building, this will be a grand gathering place for kids.

"There are some pieces of memorabilia on-site that we are being very careful about and very intentional about where they go."

John Stinson, of architectural firm Perkins + Will, also noted efforts to preserve the existing historic building in some way.

"We were looking at salvaging some of the bricks there so that we can reincorporate that into either paving or a low wall as a monument to that," he said.

DeLano added that the biggest thing she heard from alumni was the need to keep the school's name and site intact. 

"I feel like our early conversations with that group that we stayed very true to that," she said. "It was time to give Drake some personal grand attention, and I believe that the architects have done that."

The project will include the construction of multiple buildings, including a main building facing North Donahue. Construction will begin during the 2019-2020 school year and be finished by August 2021.

Construction will also begin at Cary Woods Elementary this summer. The first phase of the project will include demolishing the parking lot by the multipurpose building, which itself will not be demolished as part of the project. Phase one is expected to be completed in July. 

The second phase will stretch over the 2019-2020 school year and include the construction of a new two-level building by the play fields next to the multipurpose building. The demolition of the current classroom building will take place with phase three during the summer of 2020. 

Construction will be completed by August 2021.

Plans also create a new drop-off car loop and parking lot during the final phase, with construction planned for August-October 2020. 

The new classroom building will have access to the existing multipurpose building on both levels. The total cost budgeted for the project in the Master Plan is $18.2 million.

The BOE will meet on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Media Room at Auburn Junior High and will vote on the proposed demolition of buildings at Drake Middle School over the summer.

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