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Education
What you need to know for 01/19/2017

$9.7M in school renovations before Waterford-Halfmoon voters Dec. 12

$9.7M in school renovations before Waterford-Halfmoon voters Dec. 12

Upgrades to the original 1961 section of Waterford-Halfmoon’s school building will be up for a vote

Upgrades to the original 1961 section of Waterford-Halfmoon’s school building will be up for a vote next month.

A proposition asking voters to approve $9.7 million in projects will be on the ballot Dec. 12 for residents of the Waterford-Halfmoon Union Free School District.

The projects would improve safety and energy efficiency and ensure code compliance. Much of the work involves replacing 1961 vintage components of the building at 125 Middletown Road in the town of Waterford. Those include replacing heat-leaking single-pane windows, the ventilation and exhaust system in elementary school classrooms, outdated electrical subpanels, hazardous asbestos floor tile and a broken emergency generator.

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A public session will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Waterford-Halfmoon Junior/Senior High School multipurpose room to explain the building project residents will vote upon Dec. 12.

Other improvements include fixing crumbling exterior masonry and concrete, making the main entrance accessible to people with disabilities, adding a canopy at the entrance to shield students waiting for buses from the weather, upgrading emergency and exit lighting and replacing bathroom fixtures.

Of the total cost, state building aid would cover about $7.1 million, leaving local property taxpayers with a $2.6 million share. The annual tax impact is estimated to be $35 a year for a homeowner with a basic STAR exemption who has a house with a full property assessed value of $100,000, a rough average for the school district.

The upgrades were identified in a five-year plan developed in 2010. Knowing that some district residents might oppose the spending, officials have pored over the results and developed a workable plan to present to the public, Superintendent Tim Lange said in a letter to residents on the district’s website.

“The decision to ask residents to support this project didn’t come easily or lightly,” he wrote. “Rather, the Board and I dedicated many hours over the past two years to reviewing data, and along the way the information was dissected over and over, analyzing many ‘what if’ scenarios.”

If voters approve the projects, work would begin in the summer of 2014 and take two construction seasons to complete, district officials said.

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