SSCS pricing out building project


By Patsy Nicosia

Prompted by New York State’s EXCEL program, Sharon Springs Central School is taking a look at a building project that could range from $1.4 million to more than twice that.
Because the project is 95 percent “aidable”, the cost to taxpayers would be minimal, even at the $3 million level.
According to figures presented to the school board Monday by by Richard Timbs of Bernard Donegan Inc, the district’s financial consultants, a $1,429,000 capital project would cost someone with a $100,000 home and a STAR exemption $5 a year for 16 years.
That’s total cost, Mr. Timbs said, not a per $1,000 figure.
A $3 million project would cost the same home $11 a year for $16 years.
After hearing Mr. Timbs and Teitsch-Kent-Fay Architects’ Daniel Fay review a laundry list of possibilities, board members agree the next step should be a meeting with State Education officials to find out exactly which of two dozen items on it are aidable, something that will determine what they put up for a fall vote.
The district qualifies for $305,062 in EXCEL aid and could simply take that money and apply it toward must-do items on its SED-issue conditions survey.
“But as we began to understand how the money works, we realized we have a tremendous responsibility as a board [to address the condition of the building],” said Alan Potter, board president.
“Things are only going to get worse if we don’t address them now. This aid might not be available down the road.”
Again because of how state building aid works, the district would only use $67,000 of its EXCEL aid for the $1.4 million project and $140,000 for the $3 million project; the reminder could be available for future use, but only for projects meeting the EXCEL criteria of addressing things like energy, health and safety, and energy needs.
SSCS had originally hoped to simply use the EXCEL aid to replace its deterioriating playground, however, that’s one project that doesn’t qualify for EXCEL.
Most of the items on the list Mr. Fay ran through for board members Monday need to be done, said Business Manager Tony DiPace; only a couple—like replacing the 1930s bathrooms at the front of the school—are things that would be “nice,” he said.
Among the items the district is considering:
• Replacing the playground.
• Replacing 169 lockers.
• Replacing the treads on the main, original staircase.
• Masonry repairs at the front entry way.
• A digital camera system, a keyless entry card swipe, and a security system.
• Insulating the duct above the auditorium to address noise there.
• Replacing the roof over the original building and roof ventilation.
• Asbestos abatement.
• Replacing windows and the front doors.
_ Adding a handicapped canopy at the elementary entrance.
• Window replacement.
• Replacing the ceiling tiles in the old gym.
• Adding a partition in the cafeteria to close off the kitchen while the space is being used after hours.
• Separating bus and parent drop-off traffic, perhaps by connecting parking behind the auditorium to Route 10.
The district is looking at a fall vote on the project—whatever it becomes.
State approval would be expected in 2009 and construction would begin in 2010.
That time lag makes cost estimates difficult, Mr. Timbs said; his figures are conservative and “assume the worst.”