JCS to take $8.5 million project to the voters


Voters in the Jefferson Central School District will head to the polls on Tuesday, March 11 to consider an $8.5 million capital project.
The proposed project includes extensive renovations to the K-12 building and a 7,200 square foot addition.
According to Superintendent Carl Mummenthey, there would also be major interior renovations driven by program needs and code compliance.
According to district officials, the state will fund up to 77percent of the projects total cost.
The remaining 23 percent of the project’s cost would be raised through the local tax levy.
The district will host a series of open house meetings in February and a public information forum in early March to discuss the project with district residents.
One of the school board’s top priorities is to improve community access to the school during evening hours, said Board President Andy VanGlad.
“We have the cutting-edge technology in our school, including the area’s only broadband internet access,” Mr. VanGlad said.
“Our goal is to create a community library and computer center that’s easily accessible during school, after school, and in the evening.”
In order to satisfy current health codes, the kitchen and cafeteria would undergo significant renovation.
Rising oil prices an aging infrastructure are two other driving forces behind the planned renovations, according to district officials.
The building’s drafty, wood-frame windows will give way to modern insulated windows, two boilers will be replaced, and new digital controls will be installed to better regulate the central heating system.
In addition, three leaky roofing systems, including the 1937 slate roof, will be replaced.
Under this plan, the old stage, which was buried behind a wall during a 1988 renovations, will be revived in a new larger multi-use cafetorium.
“We have outstanding music and performing arts programs,” said Mr. Mummenthey.
“With these renovations, we will give the accomplished faculty and students in these programs a new home.”
Other interior renovations are driven by the need for campus safety and security.
The district will renovate the building’s main entrance to include a visitor registration area and security checkpoint.
District offices will be relocated to the front of the building, adjacent to the main entrance.
All interior doors will be retrofitted with code-compliant hardware; exterior doors will be retrofitted with electronic access controls; emergency lighting fixtures, the central fire alarm system, and the centralized clock and public address systems will be replaced; and handicapped accessibility to the campus will be improved.
The proposed 7,200 square foot addition will house a new library and media center, a technology/health classroom, and an expanded gymnasium with two full size teaching stations.
The expanded gymnasium will provide greater opportunity for community use while also alleviating some of the late-night practices for student athletes, particularly during the winter basketball season.
Planned exterior site work included new drainage and paving for the three parking lots on campus, resurfaced sidewalks and improve lighting and landscaping.
The district is taking advantage of a one-time EXCEL aid allocation and a favorable building aid ratio in order to minimize the local cost of the project. There will be a projected tax increase of seven-eight percent beginning 2010-2011.
For the average taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000, that equates to an increase of $94 before STAR and Enhanced STAR exemptions.
That figure is projected to drop to $66 a year for those with the STAR exemption and $47 a year for those with the Enhanced STAR exemption.
The district will be holding three open house events at which taxpayers and residents can review the project plans and speak with the Superintendent, Board members, the district’s Site Team, and the architectural/design team.
These open houses are scheduled for Wednesday, February 13 from 1-3pm and 4-6pm and on Wednesday, February 27 from 10am-noon.
Tours of the building will be available at all three events.
The district also will hold a public information forum on Monday, March 3 at 7pm in the gymnasium.
In addition, Site Team members are available to meet with interested community groups.
Those wishing to schedule a team visit are encouraged to call the school.
The referendum is scheduled for Tuesday, March 11; polls are open from noon-8pm.