Fulton County

Broadalbin-Perth School District asks for help to prioritize repairs

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District has identified $7.5 million in “high-priority” repairs

The Broadalbin-Perth Central School District has identified $7.5 million in “high-priority” repairs to three buildings to address safety issues affecting students, staff and visitors, according to school Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson.

The district is asking the community for help in prioritizing the repairs for any proposed bond to pay for the work. The cost of the work could vary based on whether the district includes alternative energy projects, or reconfigures school buildings, or both, said Michele Kelley, district spokeswoman.

The alternative energy projects include installation of wind, geothermal and solar systems. One possible school reconfiguration proposal is to turn The Learning Community in the Broadalbin school building into the district’s middle school. The Learning Community would be moved to the intermediate school and the intermediate school would be moved into the current middle school space.

If the district goes forward with the capital project, it would require voter approval on the bonds. Residents would likely vote on a proposal in February 2013.

“We are looking at people to be involved in this, to let us know from their perspective where we should put the money,” Kelley said. “Ultimately, it is the community’s decision, because if they vote no on the bond issue then we do not have money to pay for the work. That is why we feel it is important to get the community involved early in this process,” she said.

Studies completed by CNS Engineering and Ashley-McGraw have identified $5.1 million in high-priority repairs for the high school building in Broadalbin, $2 million in repairs for the main building in Perth and $400,000 for the bus garage.

The repairs cover plumbing, electrical, heating, site and other systems, and they range from replacement of a roof on the 1934 and 1994 buildings at the high school at an estimated cost of $900,000 to the installation of solar panels on the new roofs at an estimated cost of $150,000.

Tomlinson said some of the projects under consideration have the potential to increase efficiency in the district and generate significant savings over the next 15-plus years.

“The school budget crisis that started in 2008 has forced us to re-examine how we do business,” Tomlinson said in a news release. “It would be irresponsible of us as a district if we didn’t consider options that could save us a significant amount of money over the long term.”

The same studies also identified an additional $10.7 million in medium-priority and low-priority repairs.

Combined with the high-priority repairs, the total cost of the project could hit $18 million. Whether the district includes these repairs in its five-year capital plan will be determined by the community, Tomlinson said.

He said the high-priority items represent immediate safety issues, while low-priority items are issues that should be addressed within the next five years.

He is working with an advisory committee of volunteers to help him develop recommendations to the Board of Education on what the district should address in a capital project.

“One of the reasons we’ve invited the community to work with us on this is to help us find a balance,” Tomlinson said. “Even though we get back from the state more than 80 cents for every dollar we spend on capital improvements, $18 million is a lot of money. We’re hoping that this group of community members can help us weigh the relative urgency of the issues addressed in our building survey with the community’s ability and willingness to support our efforts.”

The advisory committee has scheduled three more meetings to discuss repairs.

Dates are June 26, 6-9 p.m., High School Media Center; July 31, 6-9 p.m., Intermediate School Media Center; Aug. 28, 6-9 p.m., High School Media Center.

Categories: Schenectady County

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