NEW LEBANON — An $11.8 million construction project in the New Lebanon Central School District is nearly complete.

The district announced construction is expected to be wrapped up by mid-December.

“This work was needed in our buildings, as it was the largest renovation our schools had seen in more than 50 years. These updates, enhancements and additions will allow us to continue to offer the robust academic program New Lebanon is known for,” District Superintendent Andrew Kourt said in a statement.

The construction project was voted on and approved in May 2017.

The $11,855,000 project includes upgrades and improvements to a number of different areas throughout the Walter B. Howard Elementary School and at the junior-senior high school, such as a new facilities storage area, renovated bathrooms, locker rooms, repairs and improvements made to classrooms and the nurse’s office, upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems and the school kitchen.

In the spring, construction was able to proceed when the district had to switch to remote learning due to COVID-19.

Over the spring and summer, the elementary school received a new secured entrance. The main office and kitchen were reconstructed. New lighting and HVAC equipment were installed, and additions to the gym and physical-education office were built.

“I am very excited to show off our new facilities to our community once we get through the pandemic. The new gym in our elementary school will be a highlight of our community,” Kourt said.

At the junior-senior high school, exterior doors and door frames were upgraded and enhancements and upgrades were made to the kitchen. Construction was finished on the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms and on the nurse’s office. Upgrades were made to the lighting and HVAC equipment. Work was also done on the parking lots and athletic field.

This summer, exterior site work was done at both schools amid the pandemic.

The project has been funded in part through money the district saved in anticipation of the project. The district saved $3 million through a combination of capital reserve and budgeted funds.

New Lebanon was able to utilize $288,073 of Smart Schools Funding from New York state to reduce the cost, according to the district website.

The remainder of the project’s cost was bonded for a 15-year term. New York state building aid will reimburse the district for about 45% of the cost including the principal cost and interest, according to the district website.

Early during the construction process, the district made improvements to its plumbing and fire-alarm systems and to staircases.

All students in the New Lebanon district are learning remotely after a positive COVID case turned up last week. In-person learning is scheduled to resume Nov. 30.

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