Wednesday June 29, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. -- Voters narrowly approved one of two capital improvement projects on the ballot during a special election Wednesday at Cambridge Central School.

The first proposition, set not to exceed $8.037 million, included a number of issues relating to health, safety, and efficiency and passed by a margin of 353 to 337.

The second proposition, covering renovations to the high school library and technology rooms not to exceed $1.91 million, failed with 297 in favor and 343 against.

The timeline for completion of the larger project has most construction taking place over two summers, beginning in 2012.

The school board decided in May to put to ballot the two propositions, based upon the revised recommendations of a building committee. That committee has met regularly since last fall, and is comprised of school board members, faculty, staff, and district residents. A previous, larger capital improvement referendum in March failed. The propositions up for consideration included items identified in last year's building condition survey, completed by Mosaic Associates Architects of East Greenbush.

The $8.037 million proposition includes reconstruction of the school gymnasium and kitchen; new ventilator units and systems; replacement of art room skylights, the remainder of single-pane windows, and elementary wing wooden cubbies; repaving of the existing parking lot and an addition of 20 parking spaces near the elementary; elementary playground equipment; and a secured high school lobby.


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It also includes drywall replacement, exterior paint, and construction of a roof hatch.

The second proposition included reconstruction of the high school library. The current high school library and technology classrooms would exchange places, and there would be a small addition to the new library-cum-media-center.

The high school library had been faulted at recent board meetings as failing to prepare graduates for college. The choice of multiple projects was based upon feedback received from the previous election in March. Wednesday's second proposition could not have passed without approval of the first.

A previous $17.9 million capital improvement proposal, which included the sum of recommendations from the 2010 building condition survey, was rejected by district voters on March 22.

The bulk of items removed in the timespan between the two votes will be rolled into the district's five-year plan. State building aid currently reimburses 79.5 percent of a project's total cost. Repayment of the local share will take place over a 15-year repayment schedule.