Warwick Valley School District considers $10.8 million capital project

The proposal, which school officials said would have no local tax impact, is expected to go before voters on Dec. 7

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  • File photo Among the capital projects proposed at Warwick Valley High School would be to repave the parking lot, resurface the track, upgrade instructional space, repair the greenhouse, update bathrooms, replace the main electrical system and purchase an emergency generator. These and other projects at the district's three other school building will be voted on by the residents of the district.

— The Warwick Valley School Board is considering a $10.8 million capital project that includes repairs and renovations to all of the district’s schools and will come at no additional cost to taxpayers.

The Board of Education heard a detailed presentation of the capital project at its Sept. 25 work session. The presentation included a school-by-school discussion of repairs and improvements and was led by Timothy Holmes, the assistant superintendent for business, and Mark Ruhnke of Eisenbach & Ruhnke Engineering.

Most of the proposed work was identified in a state-required Building Condition Survey (BCS) that involved an extensive and independent inspection of all school buildings.

Holmes said the district’s Facilities Planning Committee has met regularly over the past year and, using the BCS as its guide, district officials prioritized each school’s needs.

Schools Superintendent Dr. David Leach said the district develops multi-year facility plans, which help identify outdated and energy inefficient facilities and equipment. Additionally, heightened safety concerns and changing academic programs create the need for increased school security and improvements to instructional spaces, he explained.

Vote: Dec. 7The capital project is expected to go before district voters on Dec. 7.

If approved by voters, the capital project would have no direct tax impact. The district would receive about $6.9 million in state aid, and capital reserve funds would cover the balance.

“Our fiscal approach to capital projects is to fund them without any additional cost to local taxpayers, and we accomplish this by leveraging state aid,” Leach said.

Principal and interest costs for eligible capital improvement projects are reimbursed by the state at approximately 64 percent.

“This funding, along with the funds we have set aside in our capital reserve, eliminates any additional costs to taxpayers for this proposed capital project,” Dr. Leach said. “For this reason, the scope as well as the costs of our capital projects tend to be significantly less than those of many area school Districts.”

The work Park Avenue Elementary, Holmes said, is the only school in the District currently without any central air conditioning. Window units are not an alternative, he said, because of the building’s structural and electrical limitations.

“A student’s address shouldn’t determine if he or she has a comfortable learning environment,” Dr. Leach said.

Each school also requires repairs and maintenance, Holmes said. For example:

Corroding water piping in Park Avenue needs to be replaced;

Sanfordville is due for new water heaters; and

Gym partitions at the High School, Middle School and Park Avenue have reached the end of their useful lives.

Also included in the project is roof work, floor repairs, masonry work, upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems, repairs to the bus storage facility, and the removal of several aging oil tanks from various locations on district property.

“This work will ensure that we continue to provide our students with a safe, secure, and physically sound environment for years to come,” Holmes said. “It protects the community’s investment in our schools.”

The majority of the work would be completed during the summers of 2018 and 2019, so as not to disrupt students.

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