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Final phase in Utica City School District's capital project underway

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- The final changes to the Utica City School District are underway as Phase Four of the $187 million capital project begins.

Once the students leave the classroom for the summer, workers will move in. The main improvements to the schools will increase technology and boost safety.

Phase Four focuses on Columbus, Watson Williams and Jones elementary schools. Every classroom will now have interactive Whiteboards, access to wireless internet, network upgrades and more power will be fed into the classrooms.

Upgraded security cameras will be installed throughout the schools and Jones and Columbus will have more secure entrances that eliminate the need for keys and give the main office more control of who comes and goes.

You'll also see nicer windows and floors, but as one of the architects explains, this massive project goes far beyond the aesthetics.

"The district spent a lot of time on reprogramming the buildings to address the current educational needs. Things are different than they were say 10, 20 years ago when you had a lot of small one-on-one group instruction and the capital project has addressed a lot of those needs too making sure the buildings are designed the way they're teaching now and more interchangeable. So, I think that's a big plus for student interaction along with the look of the buildings has been upgraded," said Jeffrey Kloetzer, a partner at Stieglitz Snyder Architecture.

Phase Four costs about 25 percent of the $187 million project. The construction will take two summers to complete.

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