The Springville-Griffith Board of Education learned this week that an updated building condition survey shows the district is faced with $17.6 million worth of high-priority items in need of repair or replacement.

Scott Jones, of the architectural firm Gordon W. Jones Associates, said the last time the district surveyed its buildings in 2010, $25 million in capital needs were identified. Adjusted for inflation, Jones said that number would be closer to $28.5 million today.

However, school officials asked Larry Strauss, buildings and maintenance crew chief, to whittle that number down to only the most necessary items, which Strauss said wasn’t easy, considering some of the district’s buildings are 60 years old.

“We had and eight-year lapse when hardly any planning took place,” Strauss said. “We lost ground and need to catch up.”

Business Administrator Ted Welch said the district isn’t necessarily asking for a capital project at this point, but rather identifying infrastructure needs that can no longer be ignored.

Also, Superintendent Paul Connelly urged residents from every demographic group to join the board at the Community Conversation at 7 p.m. Jan. 8 in the Middle School cafeteria. Board members will facilitate small group discussions, which will help the district prioritize items residents deem most important for the 2013-14 budget.

On a more upbeat note, Colden resident Leonard Krajewski received his high school diploma at the meeting, 69 years after he left high school to enlist in the National Guard.

Krajewski, who was 14 in 1944, did not tell recruiters his real age so he could join the Guard. He later served with the Marine Corps aboard the USS Siboney and was honorably discharged in 1949 at the rank of corporal at age 20.

Krajewski received a standing ovation and, with the Springville VFW 5280 color guard at attention, accepted his diploma saying, “Take care of your country; it’s the best there is.”

The 83-year-old had been studying baking at Emerson High School in Buffalo when he enlisted.