The city school district’s Board of Education this week will consider an emergency stabilization project at the Lake Avenue Elementary School, where the aging cornice of the building has deteriorated.
The problems with the cornice — the masonry band around the building two or three feet from the roof line — was discovered during a routine survey of the school building in recent weeks, said Kurt Jaeger, assistant superintendent for business.
“We don’t want to have any type of dangerous situation there,” he said Tuesday.
The Lake Avenue school was built as a high school and opened to students in 1924. It later became a junior high school, and finally was converted to an elementary school in 1972. The building was renovated inside and out in 2003-04.
The firm that inspected the school recommended that the cornice be stabilized as soon as possible because pieces could fall to the ground. The stonework on the cornice had become loose, possibly because of exposure to the weather, Jaeger said.
The Board of Education will be asked during its meeting Thursday in Saratoga Springs High School to appoint Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers as the district’s architect for the emergency project.
Jaeger said none of the cornice has yet fallen from the building. The district has put temporary orange fencing around the building so that people can’t get too close to the side of the building and be in harm’s way in the event a piece of the cornice does fall.
The resolution prepared for the school board’s approval states that “the district’s architect has advised the school district that this condition and current situation present an imminent failure and risk which may imperil the safety of the staff, students, and public which requires stabilization on an emergency basis for the temporary protection of the public while a more permanent solution is explored.”
Jaeger said the stabilization could include some sort of netting around the cornice to contain the masonry so it can’t fall.
District officials consulted with the state Education Department on the emergency procedure and legal steps to be taken so that the stabilization can start as soon as possible.
Jaeger said the early estimates on the project are in the $100,000 range. He said the district will have to consider a capital project to replace the cornice after the stabilization has been completed.
The last high school class to graduate from the building at 126 Lake Ave. was in 1965. The building became the junior high school in 1966.
The high school, and later the junior high school, were moved to the current high school and district administrative campus on West Avenue.