Rotterdam residents will have an opportunity to vote for building upgrades in each school district on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
Both the Mohonasen and Schalmont School Districts are proposing capital projects this year that would improve buildings and infrastructure at no cost or low cost to the taxpayer.
The Mohonasen School District is proposing a $21.8 million project that will be financed by state building aid that the district has been receiving for the past several years and from the state’s EXCEL program. The proposed projects at Mohonasen would be at no local cost to the taxpayers.
Schalmont is proposing a .2 percent increase on the tax levy with its $9.7 million renovation project. Administrators said the increase is low thanks to the $676,811 the district received from the state’s EXCEL program.
The state gives money through its EXCEL program to school districts that want to either expand physical capacity, upgrade technology, improve energy efficiency, improve health and safety or improve accessibility.
Mohonasen Assistant Superintendent for Business Denise Swezey said Mohonasen’s project calls for $14 million worth of infrastructure projects such as new boilers and roofs. If the referendum were to be defeated this time these project would have to be done eventually and taxpayers would have to pay for them.
This is such a good opportunity to go forward seeing as it is at no cost, Swezey said. `If we don’t do this now, it will be at a later time and will cost the taxpayer because the district will have to do these types of things.`
Projects at Mohonasen are being proposed for each of the district’s four buildings. In all four buildings plans call for security upgrades and the replacement of old windows, carpets, coat closets, doors, lights, blackboards and technology upgrades.
At Bradt Primary School, projects include the replacement of the 1950’s-era hot water tank with a more energy efficient one.
At Pinewood Intermediate School, plans are to upgrade the school’s heating system, replace the building’s septic tank and hook into the town’s system, replace the old septic line from 1958 and renovate the building’s original plumbing. The project also includes a renovation to the school’s cafeteria and kitchen area. Also, the library will be combined with the computer lab to add more space.
At Draper Middle School, the proposal includes the replacement of the leaky roof, renovations to the existing teacher’s workroom above the media center to include two classrooms and two small-group instruction rooms, upgrades to the school’s heating system and the replacement of the leaky canopy roof outside the building.
At the high school, the project includes upgrades to the heating system, resurfacing the tennis courts and upgrades to the fire alarm system. The largest renovations to the high school include the addition of a fine arts wing that would include three classrooms for arts and technology and an art gallery. The wing would not only add space, but would improve the traffic flow in the hallways.
Swezey said while the art wing is not an immediate infrastructure concern, art classes in the high school do not meet state standards because there are too many students in each classroom. She said the district wants to get those numbers down immediately.
Projects at Schalmont would primarily take place at the middle and high school campus.
Upgrades at the high school are concentrated in the original section of the building, built in 1957, and would include the replacement of weathered panels on the building’s exterior, roof reconstruction, renovations to the cafeteria, bathrooms, classrooms, the school’s main lobby and old gym.
The largest part of the proposal includes the replacement of all the original windows, which would cost $1.4 million, the new hot water boilers for $1 million and a reconstructed ventilation system for $3 million.
On the school’s campus, the bus loop would be reconstructed and a parking lot would be added to connect the existing lot with the high school athletic fields.
At the Schonowe School, which the district leases to various programs including Capital Region BOCES, the heating system would be upgraded to make it more energy efficient.
Voting will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 16. Schalmont residents can begin voting at 6 a.m. in the Schalmont Middle School new gym and Mohonasen residents can begin voting at 7 a.m. at the Mohonasen High School gym. Polls close at 9 p.m. For information, visit the districts’ Web sites, www.Mohonasen.org or www.schalmont.org.