Saratoga County

Shen voters OK $10 million for capital projects

Shenendehowa Central School District residents Wednesday approved a $10 million capital project prop

Shenendehowa Central School District residents Wednesday approved a $10 million capital project proposition for a slate of health and safety projects and campuswide wireless Internet access.

The final tally was 1,168-682.

“We are pleased with the continued support of the community in our efforts to be cost-conscious and provide quality facilities and resources for our students,” Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson said in a statement.

In an unusual turn, students voiced support for the proposition in the weeks before the vote, especially the Wi-Fi upgrade and a plan to redo the wrestling area and weight room. The Student Senate, which usually doesn’t get involved in district financial business, favored the projects, said district spokeswoman Kelly DeFeciani.

Most students weren’t old enough to vote, but their opinions may have influenced those who were.

“I think they must have talked to their parents,” she said. “Students were talking about the need for [the weight room] quite a bit.”

Ventilation in the existing weight room is poor; the new area will be rebuilt with multiple levels and better ventilation, at a cost of $2.1 million. District officials have said it is designed to create a space that all students, not just athletes, can use during the school day and after.

After the Wi-Fi project, the entire Route 146 campus will have wireless Internet, including outdoor physical education spaces. Currently, only some places on campus have Wi-Fi. Off-campus schools will have wireless Internet, as well.

“Everyone will have it,” DeFeciani said.

That project will cost $1.8 million.

Other projects include replacing emergency generators, leaky pipe fittings, fire alarm control panels, exhaust fans, chimney caps, cafeteria freezers, boilers and elevator parts; rebuilding kitchen grease traps; removing outside asbestos wall material; and fixing roof leaks and damaged ceilings. The projects include every building in the district.

Of the $10,072,663 cost, the district is borrowing $2.6 million. It will use savings from refinancing existing debt to pay $5.1 million of the cost and also take $2.3 million from capital reserve funds.

Of the $2.6 million borrowed, the district will get reimbursement from the state for $1.7 million, reducing the local tax burden further. The net impact on taxpayers will be a 0.03 percent increase over 15 years, or an extra $1.49 a year for a resident with a $250,000 home.

District officials plan to develop architectural and engineering designs and specifications from November through January. The project will be submitted to the state Board of Education for its approval in January. Bids will be sought, opened and awarded by the end of May. From June through September 2013, the projects will be constructed and completed.

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