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BOCES Capital Project Goes To Voters This Fall

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY -  Oswego County BOCES will host a public vote this fall, seeking approval for a proposed $48.4 million capital project.

The current campus layout at Oswego County BOCES
The current campus layout at Oswego County BOCES. (Click images to see larger view.)

BOCES Superintendent Joseph Camerino presented a report of the project this week for the Fulton Board of Education. He explained that the project focuses overall on improvements and renovations to enhance safety, security and technology at the campus.

Camerino explained that the average building age at the current campus is 28 years old. Of 24 buildings, 19 are wooden and five are constructed of masonry and steel. The main building at BOCES was completed in 1969. The Stern building, which currently houses the majority of special education students, was constructed in 1973.

Scattered around the campus, several wooden buildings were put up as temporary structures in the 1980s. While expected to have an eight year “life expectancy,” the buildings are now approaching 30 years old.

“Five buildings have been closed for occupancy,” Camerino said. “Another 10 buildings have less than five years of useful life.”

Several of the structures have significant damage and environmental issues, such as water concerns and humidity problems. The server and telephone rooms are overcrowded, resulting in system failures because of overheating, he said.

Because there is inadequate classroom space in the main building, students are required to walk outside in every kind of weather to get to classes, the cafeteria and the nurses office. Camerino noted, too, that plumbing and electrical systems are outdated. The clock and bell system, as well as the fire alarm, are original systems.

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Showing a diagram of existing traffic patterns on the campus, Camerino detailed a web of transportation and pedestrian traffic around the campus. He noted that there are 89 entrance/exit points to the various buildings.

The proposed design, he said, would provide a single point of entry to the campus and to the buildings. By moving programs and administrative services, like programs would be kept together and all buildings would be linked so that people do not have to leave the building once they arrive.

“The entire building will become one big student center. … Everything will be connected,” he said.

The project will add 18 general purpose classrooms in education to replace the transfer of students from the Stern building and other closed locations. A multi-purpose room, a new media center, a reconstructed cafeteria, a focused main entry complete with “storefronts” where occupational-education students can sell goods and a new heavy equipment classroom are also included in the plan.

Infrastructure improvements will focus on HVAC, electrical, plumbing, fire alarm, communication and security systems. Plans for “green” and/or energy saving and alternative energy technology are also included, as well as furniture and equipment for all student programs.

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The project comes in with a $48,431,799 price tag. Existing BOCES capital funds totaling $1.7 million would be used to offset the costs. The district also anticipates an estimated 90 percent reimbursement of projects costs that are eligible for state aid.

The local share would be divided among the nine county school districts that are included in the Oswego County BOCES region. Camerino noted that the net cost of the project for Fulton would be approximately $135,800 per year. He said BOCES will continue to investigate options to bring the local share down.

“It would be about three years before it would be an impact on your budget,” he said.

Board clerk Dan Pawlewicz said he has recently spent time at BOCES and believes it is time to address the needs at the campus.

“It’s obviously in need of some construction,” Pawlewicz said. He said building a project that focuses on safety, security and technology is “right on target.”

Residents in the BOCES region will vote on the proposed plan Nov. 12. Camerino said the project timeline anticipates State Education Department approval by January 2010. Construction would begin by June 2010 and be completed by December 2012.

The vote will be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at 13 polling places around the county. In Fulton, he said polling sites will be set up at Volney Elementary School and the Fulton War Memorial.

Individuals residing anywhere within the BOCES region for at least 30 days prior to the vote who are U.S. citizens and at least 18 years old can weigh in on the project.

7 Comments

  1. Is there a particular reason they couldn’t have conducted this vote on November 4 along with the rest of the general election? There would have been no added cost for the election. I am guessing they want to have as few people vote as possible because those that will vote on the 12th will be voting yes. I am sorry, I have no problem with BOCES but all of this money that schools continue to demand from us is beyond belief. I took notice of this and will make sure to vote no.

  2. My guess is that most of the houses in Fulton, Oswego and the rest of Oswego County were constructed before the Boces buildings and are still in use because that is what the owners can afford. Like Boces, my house was built in the 1970’s too and because it has been maintained regularly and updated a little at a time it remains in excellent condition and is very functional today. The same is true of my neighbors who have homes built in the 1950’s. None of our houses are at the end of their useful lives and none had 8 yr life expectancies.

    School district boards and management just don’t get it. As long as they continue to have the ability to take money from taxpayers at will, they will continue to find ways to spend more. Who wouldn’t like a new house if someone else would pay for it. And God forbid that students and faculty have to walk outside… even in the winter. Another $48M on top of the Fulton, Oswego and other county school district’s capital plans. This means more increased tax levies at a time when the average taxpayer is taking wage and benefit cuts.

    The Boces 90% state aid and 10% from local districts adds up to 100% from citizens who actually pay taxes… mostly to once again benefit those who pay no taxes.

    I will vote no also.

  3. Hey what the heck, we as tax payers can lose our houses so that BOCES can be all redesigned for the students. Of course after we are all moved out of here there will be no students to attend the nice newly renovated campus. We pay the highest taxes in the nation and it isn’t enough? I wonder how every other state in this country can survive. Albany didn’t pay the state aid that was promised to schools this year so tack that on to the tax payers right along with the BOCES renovation project and see if you all can’t take another few years off of our lives trying to work more over time. Most of the tax payers already work all they can get, I wonder if we can sell our blood next. The people that have left NY state made the best decision they’ve made in their lives. I think it’s time to get out of dodge, that’s if you can get someone to buy your house in the great state of NY. My vote is NO!

  4. George, I wonder what your house would look like if you had 1,000 or more people a day walking through it and using your stuff. It would probably be just a wonderful, right?

    Try being informed.

  5. My concern with the BOCES renovation is who are they building it for? Many of the school districts have taken kids back (special education, multi-occ and CTE students) due to the high demand for academics required by the state. Why undertake this enormous project with taxpayers money if there will be no students to attend? New York taxpayers cannot keep paying. Vote no!

  6. Why does BOCES need a new wing and 18 additional classrooms if they continue to cut programs there? Over the past 5 years major programs like Carpentry, Electronics, Masonry, Trade Electricity and Computer Graphics have been cut & other programs like Auto Body & Motorsports have been threatened each of those years with cuts. With all these programs gone, seems like there would be all kinds of room there to put students without spending $48 million. To top it all off, the teachers that do remain working there now are presently working without a contract because administration doesn’t want to spend the money. What people don’t realize is that BOCES gets more $$$ for a special education student than for a student that attends for Career & Technical training. Why would they continue to cut these types of career training programs for students that might actually use them to find jobs and help the Oswego County economy? If the money was being used to improve and expand the career and technical training programs I might consider voting yes for it, but for 18 new classrooms that really aren’t needed I will be encouraging all my neighbors to VOTE NO on November 12th.

  7. NOTE THAT POLLING PLACES HAVE CHANGED FOR THIS VOTE!

    (RUMOR HAS IT THAT NO VOTING BOOTHS WILL BE USED, JUST BALLOT BOXES – Hopefully this will be a fair vote…)

    Residents of the BOCES region can vote at any one of
    the following locations:

    Altmar-Parish-Williamstown CSD – APW High School
    Central Square CSD – A.A. Cole Elementary and Millard
    Hawk Elementary School
    Fulton City SD – Volney Elementary School and Fulton
    War Memorial
    Hannibal CSD – Hannibal High School
    Mexico Academy CSD – Mexico Elementary School
    Oswego City SD – Frederick Leighton Elementary School
    and Oswego City Schools Education Center
    Phoenix CSD – John C. Birdlebough High School
    Pulaski Academy CSD – Lura Sharp Elementary School
    Sandy Creek CSD – Sandy Creek District Offi ce
    Oswego County BOCES – BOCES Main Campus

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