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School update project laid out

School update project laid out

A proposed building and grounds renovation project ranging from a total of $1.4 million to $3 millio

A proposed building and grounds renovation project ranging from a total of $1.4 million to $3 million was outlined Monday to Sharon Springs Central School District officials.

The construction and financing options laid out in a nearly 90-minute presentation by architect Daniel Wilson Fay and municipal finance specialist Richard G. Timbs replace an earlier plan that had focused primarily on replacing a playground for about $60,000 to $90,000.

That less comprehensive project, which also included other building repairs, was put on hold in February after district administrators discovered it was too small to allow the playground to qualify to use $305,062 in special state aid under the Expanding Children’s Education and Learning (EXCEL) program.

Timbs, of the Rochester are firm of Bernard P. Donegan Inc, said about 95 percent of the $1.4 million project is expected to qualify for regular state building aid, leaving the district taxpayers to pick up only $122,634 of the project.

It would also use only $67,179 of the district total EXCEL allotment.

Nothing was decided Monday, but Board of Education President Alan Potter agreed to allow Timbs and Fay to set up a meeting with state Education Department officials over the next few weeks to clarify whether all the outlined projects would qualify for the state aid estimated.

In the meantime, school board members would have time to go over the various projects and financial calculations outlined in the proposals, said district Business Manager Anthony DiPace.

Based on Timbs’ projections, a typical taxpayer with property with a full market value of $100,000, might see an tax increase of about $5 per year if qualified for the state’s regular STAR exemption for a primary residence.

For residents qualified for the senior citizen enhanced STAR, the increase was estimated at about $3 per year. For a taxpayer with no assessment exemption, the increase was estimated at $7 per year.

If all the options in the maximum building project under consideration were included, the average annual costs to taxpayers would rise to $11 with STAR, $7 for senior STAR, and $16 without exemptions, he said.

Those figures would vary depending on actual equalization rates in the seven towns included in the district.

Among the projects outlined by Fay, of Cazenovia-based Teitsch-Ken-Fay Architects, are a $303,800 roof replacement on the original Sharon Springs Central School building, a $150,000 playground equipment replacement, disability-compliant bathrooms for $140,000, replacing the interior stairs for $140,000, and other renovations and modernization projects.

Some of the additional plans involve security or safety issues, including proposed improvements for how buses enter and leave the school campus located between state Route 10 and U.S. Route 20.

A $78,000 digital camera system, and a $60,000 keyless door lock system for exterior doors are also proposed.

Once the scope of the project is agreed upon by the board, it is expected to go before district voters this fall, according to Timbs.

Construction would not start until 2010, he said.

State reimbursement would be spread over 15 years, and aid would also apply to interest costs for the necessary borrowing through bonds obtained by the district, Timbs said.

“The effect on taxpayers would be minimal,” board President Potter said, assuming the aid projections are verified by state officials.

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