On Wednesday, Aug. 18, the Ballston Spa School District Board of Education approved a resolution that will put a proposed $49.3 million facilities improvement project referendum up for vote on Oct. 19.
Phase I that residents will vote on addresses what the district and facilities planning committee feel are the most urgent and pressing needs regarding building infrastructure, health and safety issues, open classroom space deficiencies and the aging Malta Avenue facility, said Superintendent Joseph Dragone. `We spent around 15 months on a planning process, consulting the community and assessing the needs for these improvements.`
The facilities planning committee was made up of 40 community members, parents, educators, business reprentatives, elected local officials and community organizations, who reviewed each of the district’s buildings and grounds. It met bi-weekly for seven months in 2009 and made recommendations to the board of education in January 2010, which specified a `vision` and provided principles and prioritized the schedule of improvements. The board of education assessed options to implement the recommendations and the first in a series of referenda that will be presented to voters over the course of several years, is what goes to vote in October.
Details of the first phase of the facilities improvement plan is extensive and an in-depth look at what’s planned and proposed is available on the district’s Web site, www.bscsd.org.
In summary, Malta Avenue Elementary School is first on the list of targeted improvements. The plan calls for repair to the exterior walls, structural floor systems and stairs. It cites repair and replacement of roofing, windows and window treatments to increase energy efficiency and selected exterior doors for energy saving and building security. Connector additions will be constructed to link buildings for better accessibility and an elevator will be installed to offer handicapped access at each level of the building. Improvements to mechanical aspects of the building are planned, like a repair and upgrade to the HVAC system and ventilation, which will improve health, safety and energy efficiency. The boiler will be upgraded, electrical systems will be upgraded to improve classroom and corridor lighting and fire alarm systems will be updated. There will also be basic repairs like painting and drainage.
Similar improvements regarding repair and replacement of windows, doors and upgrades to mechanical systems are also planned for Milton Terrace North and the Wood Road Building Complex. In addition, a new bus loop and access drive as well as improvements to parking lots is also planned.
Completion of work at Milton Terrace North and Wood Road Building Complex will result in the demolition of the existing Milton Terrace South building, with subsequent construction of a new two-story building that will house grades K-5. This new building will replace a structure that is currently deteriorated.
Last on the list of Phase I is improvements to the middle school. Many of these again address energy, health and safety efficiency by repairing, replacing or upgrading windows, doors, flooring and mechanical systems. The high school is the only district facility not included in the first phase.
Dragone said the nearly $50 million plan will be completed in five or six years and if passed by voters, wouold see construction begin sometime around spring of 2012.
`This has been over a year process and it’s been very exciting there has been a lot of work put forth from the facilities committee and I feel we have addressed our most urgent and critical needs first, like health and safety, air quality, learning spaces,` said Dragone. `Project is really going to`when all is said and done—have an impact of almost net zero with regard to additional investment and tax impac. The timing couldn’t be better where we can sustain investment of facilities and not have an additional tax impact on the community.`