CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Shenendehowa School District Superintendent L. Oliver Robinson Tuesday took the first formal, albeit tentative, steps toward a proposed capital projects referendum this fall.
At the Jan. 28 Board of Education meeting Robinson revealed the administration’s preliminary scope of a $23.5 million project to upgrade district facilities. The project consists of two parts or priorities; a $15.5 million facilities upgrade plan and an $8 million plan for modernizing classrooms in the middle and elementary schools.
Shen has more than a million square feet of building space, 357 acres of grounds, 52 playing fields, a bus fleet with more than 200 buses and 20 miles of roadways and parking lots. And in 2022 the district is scheduled to have a mandatory five-year building condition survey prepared.
The 2020 facilities plan is being proposed in part to prepare the district for undertaking that survey. Additionally, the plan will help the district meet or exceed two of the four goals in its Strategic Vision; school and classroom experiences and fiscal responsibility. To that end Robinson said he will soon reconvene the district’s Facilities Committee.
That committee reviews documents like the building conditions survey, the fire safety inspection reports, the annual building visual inspection report and also conducts a building environmental evaluation of district facilities to assist the Board of Education in developing a Five-Year Capital Facilities Plan.
Facilities Committee members include Shen’s director of facilities, the director of operations, two Board of Education members, building principles from all three grade levels, custodians, teachers, support staff, parents, two at-large community members, the project manager and representatives of the architectural firm that won the bid. The committee is facilitated by Shen’s assistant superintendent for finance.
“In recent years we’ve been spending a lot of time on (projects for) the high school,” Robinson said. “So we’ll shift our focus now to the middle schools.”
Priorities for the Project 2020 include modernization of middle and elementary school classrooms, replacing the artificial turf field and track, upgrading the sound and lights in High School West auditorium, refurbishing or replacing several gymnasium floors, increasing the district’s power supply, replacement of classroom windows with energy efficient glass, replace boilers, chillers, hot water heaters, pumps and storage tanks where needed, and perform drain repair across the district.
The project also includes upgrades at the district’s transportation facility, removing asbestos floor tiles in the schools, making doorways and door handles ADA compliant, upgrading internal building signage, and repaving district roadways where needed.
“I’d like to get from the board, whether or not there’s a general consensus,” Robinson said. “Hopefully I can have that sometime in February. By then the details will be flushed out.”
Robinson requested board members review the project’s specifications closely with an eye on holding the public referendum in September. The fall date was chosen due to the nearness of the May budget vote, an upcoming presidential election in November, and the fact that many district residents head South for the winter.
“If we don’t do this in the fall then we’re back to holding the (capital project) vote in May 2021,” he said. “There’s a two year time lag for these things if everything goes perfectly. That turf field has been there 13 or 14 years and the life span for those types of fields is 10 (years).
"Our staff has done a great job of maintaining it and they will continue to do so but if we don’t act then we’ll look up and it will have been there 15 or 16 years.”