Schoharie County

Middleburgh voters to have say on $15 million project

Security cameras will also be part of project, which will go to voters on Dec. 12

Residents of the Middleburgh Central School District next week will be asked to approve $15 million in renovations for the elementary and high schools.

The project – the largest in the district in about a decade – would address building infrastructure issues, including repairs and replacement of roofs, heating systems and updated student bathrooms. The district’s junior and senior high school is slated for $9.5 million in upgrades, while the elementary school would get about $5.5 million of work, under the project plans.

The capital project is up for voter approval on Dec. 12, with polls open at the high school from noon to 8 p.m.

Officials say the project will have a “neutral tax impact,” because it is timed to borrow new money around the same time the district expects to pay off old debt from a capital project in the early 2000s.

District officials on Monday said much of the district’s underlying infrastructure – like heating and cooling systems – have aged beyond their useful life and are becoming an increasing strain to maintain and repair.

“The school has to be a place where people are really proud of how things work, and a lot of infrastructure is not only old, it’s broken. It’s not working,” said Middleburgh Superintendent Brian Dunn, who started in the job in the spring.

The project includes roof replacements, a new heating and cooling system for the high school auditorium, the addition of heating to a wing of the high school, electrical upgrades, repaved sidewalks and much-asked-for upgrades to student bathrooms.

While the project won’t touch the appearance of the district’s classrooms, the high school library will receive a facelift. A computer lab will be re-purposed as a space that can be used for technology projects and other programs that take students out of their regular classes, if the project is approved.

“The idea is flexibility,” Dunn said. “It’s a space that’s designed all about mobility, flexibility and collaboration.”

Officials also hope the capital project will support safety upgrades in conjunction with the district’s yet-to-be-approved Smart Schools technology plan. That plan, which utilizes state-provided funds, was submitted to the state more than a year ago but has not been approved.

Using the technology funds, the district plans to strengthen security at its main school entrances and install the school’s first security cameras, both at the entrances and in interior school hallways, Dunn said. The school entryways will also be altered in an effort to strengthen security.

An information session on the project will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the high school.

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