Voters OK school building project

Fort Plain Superintendent of Schools Douglas Burton envisions financial savings in the district’s fu

Fort Plain Superintendent of Schools Douglas Burton envisions financial savings in the district’s future once a $17.3 million building project is complete.

School district voters on Tuesday approved the proposed improvements by a vote of 184 to 124, Burton said.

Burton said the turnout was lower than for prior votes, which he attributed to the weather.

State building and EXCEL aid will pay for 92.2 percent of the work, which will include the construction of a bus garage, reconfiguring a traffic loop for buses and addressing parking and a long list of other problem areas at the elementary and high schools.

The cost to district residents is estimated as an increase of just under 1 percent in the tax rate, according to district officials, who said that increase will take place during a single year.

One of the bigger segments of the project is the construction of a 15,850-square-foot bus garage and maintenance facility to cost $6.5 million.

The current garage fails state inspection, and the district is under an order from the state Education Department to correct the situation.

A total of $6.74 million in work is slated for the Harry Hoag Elementary School.

Elements of the elementary school work will include replacing sidewalks, building a new main entrance, relocating some offices, roof replacement and facade work, among other items.

Moisture cracks in the building’s foundation will be addressed and window and doorway replacements will also take place, according to district literature.

At the high school, $2.8 million in work will include improving drainage at the athletic fields, repairing the stairway to West Street, building a special education wing, replacing windows and other items, according to the district.

Burton said he believes the greatest benefit for taxpayers will come in the form of energy savings.

“I think the biggest benefit probably is to the community at large with our energy efficiency work,” Burton said.

“Down the road, we will continue to reduce our consumption of various fuels, and that’s directly out of [taxpayers’] pockets,” Burton said.

“As we improve our windows and energy management system and improve our transportation facility, all of that will reduce our fuel consumption in terms of heating, so that should help,” Burton said.

Burton said design work will run through October. Following a six-month review by the state Education Department, work on the project could begin in June 2009 and be complete by 2011.

Categories: Schenectady County

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