Oswego County BOCES will ask its member school districts to consider a $35 million building project for its aging campus in Mexico, scaled back from the $48 million proposal rejected in 2008.
Officials of the school districts will meet with BOCES’ board on Monday for a full presentation of the plan.
Fulton’s member of the BOCES board, Matt Geitner, presented an outline of the plan this week to members of the Fulton Board of Education.
“It’s amazing to see how little has been done to that campus since it was built in 1969,” said Geitner. “It’s embarassing, actually.”
Geitner said that $13.5 million in work has been pulled from the 2008 plan, including creating new parking areas and driveways, building ten classrooms, an addition to the front entrance with several classrooms, including a distance learning lab, a new cafeteria, new media center, and the rebuilding of four buildings.
The proposed project would reconfigure several buildings for classrooms and create several multi-purpose and special purpose rooms. It would also link all buildings under a common entrance for improved security. BOCES officials say in a document circulated to districts that the project would provide flexible space, would connect the entire campus for efficiency and provide state of the art technology.
Nearly 200,000 square feet of space would be renovated or built under the new proposal.
Geitner said the average Fulton taxpayer in a home assessed at $70,000 would pay about $8 in increased taxes for the project. Those receiving either a partial or full exemption under the STAR property tax exemption would pay less. The project would add $85,000 to the Fulton district’s annual spending for the 20-year life of the project’s borrowing.
The project comes at a time of transition for the occupational education services that BOCES provides. The state is putting more stress on college preparedness, demanding that every child graduate with a college-eligible degree. Enrollment in BOCES programs is down. There has been some talk of decentralizing BOCES — moving programs to different communities. That talk has not turned into a firm proposal, however, and officials note that moving programs away from Mexico could raise transportation costs for most school districts.
“I’m not of the mindset of, ‘If you build it, they will come’,” said Fulton Board of Education member Brian Hotaling. “They’re not coming. We don’t need another Taj Mahal.”
“There definitely needs to be some improvement out there,” said board member Janet Truong.