DUANESBURG — Voters on Thursday will decide the fate of a $28 million capital project put forward by the Duanesburg Central School District that would see new roofing put on both schools, as well as renovations to cafeteria and classroom spaces.
The district’s Centennial Capital Project will ensure that students within the district have adequate learning facilities, according to Superintendent James Niedermeier, who noted that several spaces proposed for renovation haven’t been touched in decades and are no longer conducive to modern education.
“Some of the areas we’re addressing are areas that haven’t been touched since they were first built, and some of those areas were built 100 years ago,” he said.
Residents will vote on the project in a Dec. 8 referendum.
The proposal includes new roofs at both the elementary and middle/high school, upgraded cafeteria space in both buildings and renovations to several classrooms that Niedemeier described as small and unable to accommodate modern classroom electronics and other accessories.
The Duanesburg Middle/High School was constructed in 1925, while the elementary school was built in the 1950s.
Plans for the capital project also include upgraded heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, installing new fire alarms, facade improvements and replacing the wooden playground at the elementary school that is no longer safe and fails to meet standards laid out in the Americans with Disabilities Act. A new office would be added to the district’s transportation facility as well.
“We’re hoping to do a lot,” Neidermeier said.
He added the district honed in on the project after completing a building condition survey required to be completed by the state every five years. Residents also weighed in on the project during a series of forums hosted over several months.
The district is planning to use $6 million in capital reserves to fund the project and borrow the remaining $22 million balance.
No tax increases are expected should the project be approved, which can be attributed to the district’s use of reserve funds, expiring debt and state reimbursement. The district is expecting a reimbursement rate of 79.8%, meaning it would receive 79.8 cents for every $1 spent on the project.
Rising prices have been a concern, Niedermeier said, but the project estimates have accounted for rising prices and include contingency costs.
Niedermeier is hoping material costs continue to decline in the coming months so the project scope can be expanded.
“We’re hoping that things come down so we can do even more,” he said.
The district has hosted several community forums in recent months in hopes of drumming up support for the project, and Niedermeier has even given a tour of the project area.
If approved, the project would be completed in two phases, with the first phase expected to move ahead next summer and the second phase slated to begin the following year. The district would begin final design phase and cost estimates for the project, which would determine the exact project scope.
“I think that above all giving our kids a chance to flourish in facilities that are healthy and make learning conducive is the thing that’s a stake,” Niedermeier said.
Voting for the capital project will take place Dec. 8 at the high school library from 1 to 9 p.m.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected]