2016 Capital Project FAQs

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General Questions

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Voting Information

Q: Why is the school board proposing a capital project?

A: The results of a 2015 state-mandated building condition survey identified high-priority work related to aging schools facilities that, if left unaddressed, could lead to safety hazards, state violations, expensive maintenance costs and operational inefficiencies. This, coupled with a faculty and staff survey that identified issues at all three schools, the administration building and the bus garage, led the Schuylerville Board of Education to propose a capital project. Addressing these issues through a capital project allows the district to leverage state building aid to achieve a much larger amount of work than otherwise possible using only funds available in the school budget.

Q: What is the goal of the project?

A: In addition to resolving the items identified as part of the building condition survey, the purpose of the proposed project is to address space issues and antiquated facilities at all three schools, and to meet the needs of our students now and in the future.

Q: What does the overall project include?

A: The project includes additions at all three schools, the elimination of the administration building, additional parking and renovations to the bus garage. To take a video tour of the project, click here.

Q: Who decided what would be included in the project?

A: During the 2015-16 school year, the district completed a state-mandated building condition survey. As part of the requirement, district officials examined facilities with the help of architects and engineers, and identified areas that need attention. In winter 2016, a comprehensive staff survey provided all district employees the opportunity to identify areas that were in need of improvement.

During spring 2016, a district facilities committee, which represented a cross-section of the community (including community members, parents, teachers, administrators and board of education representatives) met to review the scope of district needs and made a prioritized list of additional recommendations to the board of education for its analysis and review.

Q: What were the recommendations of the building condition survey?

A: Below are the results of the 2015-16 state-mandated building conditions survey which will be included in the proposed project.

  • Elementary/Middle School
    • Replace 1990 wing windows
    • Select roofing repairs
    • Replace doors in 1990 wing with rated doors with vision panel
    • Replace 1966 gym partition with curtain
    • Replace remaining domestic gate valves with ball valves
    • Replace boilers, re-pipe boiler room and update controls
  • High School
    • Asbestos abatement at old girls locker room
    • Select window replacements
    • Select roofing repairs
    • Replace boilers, re-pipe room and update controls
    • Extend domestic HW recirculating loop to new art rooms & upgrade Recirculation pump
    • Provide exhaust for main electric room
  • Bus Garage
    • Replace metal siding at bottom perimeter of building/repair rotted structure at bottom perimeter
    • Replace original hot air furnace and provide outside air ventilation
    • Enclose open bay of existing maintenance wing
    • Build new open bay for equipment storage
    • Select roofing repairs
  • Site Work
    • Re-pave (bus garage)/ re-coat & re-stripe parking lot
    • Upgrade irrigation system
    • Add bleachers to main field
    • Elementary Swale Modification
Q: Who was part of the district facilities committee?

A: The people listed below were part of the district facilities committee.

  • Michael Booth, Board of Education
  • Robert Thivierge, Board of Education
  • Ryan Sherman, Superintendent
  • Peter Riggi, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds
  • Marian Chrisman, Business Manager
  • Matt Monaghan, Architect-SEI Design Group
  • Gregg Barthelmas, Elementary Principal
  • Matthew Sickles, High School Principal
  • Mary Kate Elsworth, Middle School Principal
  • Amy Weed, Teacher Representative
  • Mark Belden, Teacher Representative
  • Chuck Barss, CSEA Representative
  • Steve Griffen, Parent Representative
  • Meg Swenson, Parent Representative
  • Kevin Peck, Parent Representative
  • Patricia Behrens, Community Representative
Q: What additions and alterations would be made to the elementary school?

A: Schuylerville Elementary School would undergo a 5,000 sq. ft. addition to eliminate shared classrooms and expand instructional space. Four second grade classrooms would be moved to the addition and three current second grade classrooms would be converted into six smaller classrooms for AIS, ESL and speech instruction. Currently, teachers share AIS and speech classrooms and teach two groups of students at the same time, while ESL instruction takes place in a storage area.

The elementary school would also gain a sensory room and its own OT/PT room as part of the proposed project. Currently, the sensory area is located in the corner of the multipurpose room and the OT/PT room is located in the middle school. The elementary school would also see an expanded music room and flexible learning labs for science instruction.

Renovations would be made to the current cafeteria to reduce noise levels and disruptions to surrounding classrooms, while preserving the stage.

Q: What additions and alterations would be made to the middle school?

A: Schuylerville Middle School would undergo an 18,000 sq. ft. addition, which would create enough space to take middle school classes out of the elementary and high schools. The addition would include:

  • Three new science classrooms with adequate lab space, storage space and updated equipment.
    • Current science classrooms will be used as middle school special education classrooms (currently the 12:1:4 class is housed in the high school for a portion of the day).
  • A new technology classroom with adequate lab space.
  • A new music room to house 7/8 grade band, chorus and lessons.
    • Currently, chorus is housed in the elementary school multipurpose room and lessons are housed in small storage space.
  • A new library with updated equipment and space for multiple classes.
    • Currently, the middle school library is housed in the elementary school and functions as a special education classroom for three periods a day.
  • A home and careers classroom.
    • Currently housed in the elementary school.
  • A computer classroom.
  • A student services center.
    • Currently housed in the elementary school.
Q: What additions and alterations would be made to the high school?

A: Schuylerville High School would undergo a 10,000 sq. ft. addition, which would allow the school to offer students more STEM opportunities. The addition would include:

  • A new technology classroom with updated equipment and additional lab space.
  • A new agriculture classroom with greenhouse space and distance learning capabilities.
  • A computer classroom.

As part of the project, a chemistry classroom on the first floor would undergo an expansion and renovation; and a shared chemistry and physics lab would be reconfigured to meet today’s learning demands. The current weight room would also undergo an expansion to accommodate the growing functional fitness class that 60 percent of students now take. The competition gym would be updated with new flooring and seating configurations to provide accessible seating.

Q: What other changes would be seen on campus?

A: See below.

  • Administration Building: The current administration building would be demolished to make way for additional parking spaces. Central administration would be relocated to the high school.
  • Additional Parking: In addition to the parking spaces created by the elimination of the administration building, the practice field adjacent to the elementary school playground would be renovated into a parking lot. The lot would provide 75 additional parking spaces for elementary school faculty and staff, and provide enough parking for large school events. The lot would share an entrance with Saint Francis Veterinary Hospital and have sidewalks adjacent to it to direct pedestrians to the elementary school.
  • Playground Renovations: The elementary school playground would undergo renovations to make the playground equipment more age-appropriate.
  • Concessions: Current high school space would be renovated to become a defined concession stand for indoor and outdoor school district events. Outdoor bathroom facilities and an outdoor courtyard would also be included.
Q: Will elementary school students and middle school students still share a cafeteria?

A: The elementary school cafeteria would still be utilized by both elementary and middle school students, but rarely at the same time. Currently, seventh and eighth grade students eat together and third and sixth grade students eat together. All other lunch periods are solely elementary school students. District officials are working on scheduling so that fifth and sixth grade students eat together, and third grade students eat with other elementary students.

Q: Why not build a cafeteria for the middle school?

A: Building a separate cafeteria for the middle school would not be cost effective for the district. An additional cafeteria would only be utilized two periods a day and would require new equipment and additional staffing.

Q: What do cafeteria renovations mean for the elementary school stage?

A: The cafeteria renovations would preserve the elementary school stage. The district explored several options for the cafeteria, but ultimately decided to keep the stage.

Q: Why not build a new high school gymnasium?

A: The District Facilities Committee explored the option of building a new gymnasium, but decided early on that due to a lack of aid, it would be better to maintain and update the current gymnasium. If the proposed project is approved, the district is committed to updating the gymnasium, while maintaining the rich tradition and classic look. The original 1955 floor would be replaced and new bleachers would be added with accessible seating. The old girls locker room on the second floor would be converted into an additional 40-60 elevated seats to make up for a loss of seating on the first floor due to the addition of accessible seating.

Q: How does this project improve safety and security?

A: The proposed project includes improving several safety and security features throughout the district. First and foremost, the high school addition, coupled with the courtyard addition, would improve the traffic flow and provide a pick-up point for student athletes traveling to away games. Currently, student athletes congregate in the parking lot while waiting for buses, creating a safety hazard.

Q: How will this project improve student learning?

A: The proposed project would modernize facilities to help educators better prepare students for their futures – including 21st-century careers. Eliminating shared classrooms would help reduce distractions and drive student engagement, modernized classrooms would encourage collaboration and project-based learning, and expanding lab space would create more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and real world opportunities for students.

Q: Why do we need additions to each school if enrollment is declining?

A: Additions are needed to deal with a recurring space issue and antiquated facilities.

Currently, middle school classes and services take up nearly a dozen classrooms in the elementary school. As a result, elementary AIS (Academic Intervention Services) and speech classes are forced to share classrooms, ESL (English as a Second Language) classes are held in a storage space, and ALPS (Advanced Learning Program for Students) is housed at the high school. The elementary school has no designated sensory room and its OT/PT services are housed in the middle school. Meanwhile, middle school science and technology classes are lacking lab and storage space, band lessons are being housed in a storage area, and a 12:1:4 class is housed in the high school for a portion of the day.

At the high school, several classrooms are cramped and outdated. The modern work spaces that are envisioned as part of this project are meant to simulate “real-world.” They are not just about the number of students that can fit into a room. This is especially true when it comes to lab spaces that require a variety of computers and equipment to provide adequate college and career training to better prepare students to enter high-skill, technical jobs. This proposed project would allow us to construct space and facilities that more closely match the “STEM” (science, technology, engineering and math) instructional programming we want to offer our students.

Q: Will the end results look like the renderings?

A: The renderings are simply sketches SEI Design Group came up with to show what areas would undergo renovations and additions. While some of the features would be part of the final project (e.g., the greenhouse space shown in the high school agriculture room), much of the project is still in the design phase and would not be identical to the renderings.

Q: Why does it seem like we are constantly doing building projects?

A: Just as with a house or business, school officials must maintain district building so they continue to meet the needs of students. Capital projects are a way for districts to not only fund these needed building upgrades, enhancements and repairs, but to receive state building aid to help cover the overall cost. With voter approval, when the shovel hits the ground for this project, it will be one decade since work began on the last building project.

Q: Why eliminate the administration building?

A: Demolishing the administration building and moving central administration into the high school is more cost effective than repairing the current administration building. The building is 50 years old and was originally constructed as a pole barn. The building has structural issues with the trusses and would need asbestos abatement in the floor tiling. By moving central administration into current high school space, that portion of the project is eligible to receive state building aid. If a new standalone administration building were built, the cost of the project would be covered solely by the district.

Q: What would the project cost?

A: The project would cost $24,772,360. New York state building aid would pay approximately 82 percent of the project and the remaining 18 percent would come from the district (also called the “local share”).

Q: How will it impact my taxes?

A: The project would cost $0.499 per $1,000 of assessed property value, before STAR exemption. The district’s financial advisor estimates that the owner of a home with a full-market value of $100,000 with the Basic STAR exemption would see an increase of $34.96 ($2.91 per month) on his or her tax bill once the project is completed and bonded, which is estimated to be in 2020; the owner of a similar home with the Enhanced STAR exemption would see an increase of $17.58 ($1.47 per month).

Q: Can I view an itemized list of the proposed plans?

A: Yes. Click here to view the itemized list. Please be aware that these are just estimates. While the final amount would not exceed $24,772,360, the final cost of individual items cannot be determined until after the design phase and the packaging of bids.

Q: When would work be complete?

A: If the capital project is approved by voters in December 2016, construction is expected to begin in 2018 and be complete by 2020.

Q: What happens if the project is not approved?

A: If the capital project referendum is not approved by a majority of voters on Dec. 6, district officials will have to strongly consider whether or not to revise the plan and hold another vote, or to do as many of the proposed items as possible through the general fund budget. Building items completed through the general budget are not eligible for state aid.

Q: When and where do I vote?

A: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016 from 12-8 p.m. in the District Administration Building, 14 Spring St.

Q: How can I vote by absentee ballot?

A: If you would like an application for an absentee ballot, please call the Superintendent’s Office at 695-3255, extension 3242. Absentee ballots must be submitted to the district office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Q: Where can I learn more about the proposed capital project?

A: Consider attending one of the district’s public forums on Thursday, Nov. 3 or Nov. 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the High School Auditorium. To take a virtual tour of the proposed project, click here. To read the capital project newsletter, click here. To go to the full capital project webpage, click here.