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Phase I of Joint Schools Construction Board project in Syracuse wraps up

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner says the first phase of the Joint Schools Construction Board (JSCB) project is complete. 

The effort resulted in four “fully renovated” schools throughout the Syracuse City School District (SCSD), along with the completion of “smaller” renovation projects, Miner’s office said in a news release issued Oct. 26. 

The project’s second phase will focus on additional renovation projects at schools throughout the district. 

The first phase of the JSCB project resulted in full renovations of four schools. They included H.W. Smith Pre-K-8 School, Dr. Weeks Elementary School, the Public Service Leadership High School at Fowler, and the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central. 

Crews handled more than $150 million in work during the course of the project. Additionally, they completed smaller renovation projects at Clary Middle School and Bellevue Academy, Miner’s office said.

The average building in the SCSD is 72 years old, the office said, citing a 2012 report from the Albany–based Conference of Big 5 School Districts. Five of the district’s 35 buildings were built before 1920. 

Second phase

Phase II of the JSCB authorized $300 million in funding for up to 20 projects. The funding is estimated to cover about one-third of the district’s identified building-repair needs. 

The board, codified in the phase II enabling legislation, includes Miner; Jaime Alicea, superintendent of the Syracuse City School District; three members Miner appointed; and two members Alicea appointed, according to Miner’s office.

“Critically important to the JSCB project is our commitment to minority and women contracting goals, as well as local hiring. We exceeded our goals during phase I, and I look forward to meeting the higher standard set by the board for phase II,” Miner added. 

Phase I of the JSCB had a 9 percent minority-owned and 6 percent women-owned enterprise contracting goal. Those numbers were “exceeded,” as minority-owned contractors handled 12.5 percent of the work and women-owned enterprise contractors completed 7.2 percent, according to Miner’s office.

The project’s second phase has “more ambitious” goals through a project-labor agreement (PLA).

They include the use of 20 percent minority and women-owned business enterprise contractors (12 percent minority and 8 percent women).

The goals also include 20 percent minority hiring, measured in “overall” man or woman hours, and the goal of having 20 percent of those hired for the work include city residents, “measured in overall man or woman hours.”

As part of the PLA, labor unions which plan to work on the project have agreed to place workers who are graduates of JSCB-sponsored or partnered training programs into their apprenticeship programs, assigning them to available work opportunities as part of the school-reconstruction program. The unions will be working with the contractors on the project to “accomplish this goal.”

Syracuse’s JSCB was created by special legislation by New York State in 2006, according to a notice on the JSCB web page at the City of Syracuse’s website. Legislation is required “due to New York State regulations pertaining to municipal financing and borrowing,” the notice said.        

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