Hoosick Falls voters to consider school building improvements


HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — Voters will consider a capital improvement project to the school building in March, following a vote Thursday night by the Board of Education to have voters consider two propositions to fund the multi-million project.

The board approved one proposition of $16.8 million to construct health, safety and welfare improvements to the school building, along with another of $5.3 million to make instruction-related improvements.

Eighty percent of the project is fundable by state aid, said Meaghan Keegan, community information officer for the Hoosick Falls Central School District, in an email.

The board voted to call a special meeting March 13 to vote on the proposed referendum. Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

This is the third time voters will consider capital improvements to the school since 2014.

In October 2017, a $19.7 million capital project proposal was defeated by a vote of 418-456. A $17 million proposal in 2014 was also defeated, 245-216.

At a work session earlier this month, the school board considered how to present the proposed changes, and learned more about them, including input from staff and faculty who would be impacted by the changes.

The scope of the proposed project has not changed since that work session, Keagan said in the email. Costs also decreased somewhat from those proposed at the work session, as the contingency rate was reduced from 20 percent to 18 percent, she said.

School district Superintendent Kenneth Facin told the board at that work session that, looking at the history of the school, multiple propositions tend to have a higher success rate than those written as singular options.

At that meeting, the board asked Facin to draft two propositions for the project, one for the proposed health, safety and building infrastructure and one for renovations to expand programs and other upgrades, such as to the school kitchen and cafeteria.

"We would want to try to make those two propositions stand alone, if possible," Facin said at the work session. Bob Abromaitis, a contractor with Schenectady, N.Y.-based Synthesis Architects, said he did not think the project had been studied that way.

Synthesis Architects is the lead designer on the project.

"At this point, we're just trying to get input from everybody," said John Helft, board president, at the work session.

Board members Andrew Beaty and Jackolyn Houghton were absent from that meeting.

The proposal includes safety and energy/HVAC improvements, building renovations and a capital project renovation program to support science, the media center and music department, auditorium improvements and kitchen/cafeteria upgrades.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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