Oswego Board Holds Public Hearing On $63.1 Million Project

Nicole Reed addresses the board of education Tuesday night. Sitting is Pam Dowd sitting. Standing in back is Craig Daily.
Nicole Reed addresses the board of education Tuesday night. Sitting is Pam Dowd sitting. Standing in back is Craig Daily.

By Bill Foley
OSWEGO – The Oswego City School District conducted its required public hearing on Tuesday night for the December 18, $63.1 million capital project vite (polls open noon to 9 p.m.).

Three local residents addressed the Board of Education.

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Nicole Reed addresses the board of education Tuesday night. Sitting is Pam Dowd. Standing in back is Craig Daily.

Charles E. Riley Elementary School parent Nicole Reed had several questions as she inquired as to the disproportionate amount of money targeted for the east side school.

Riley is receiving just more than $1 million in work with the majority of that money going toward the interior classroom wall system, interior doors and hardware, mechanical system upgrades and mechanical controls to improve air circulation in the building.

It was explained by architect Craig Dailey and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dean Goewey that in a previous capital project CER had been one of the major sites for renovation.

Reed noted that just more than $11 million was being spent on the athletics facilities and asked if the locker rooms at Leighton was included in that amount? She was told that it wasn’t.

She inquired over type of roofs being placed on Fitzhugh and Kingsford and Dailey explained, that they are 30-year roofs.

The CER parent also asked about life span of the artificial surfaces and was told that 15 years was the anticipated time for use.

One of her concerns was safety for CER students as the drop off zone, in her opinion, is unsafe and needs to be addressed.

Minetto Elementary will be seeing repaving and reorganization of its drop off area as part of the $3.1 million going to that building.

She asked, “if money could be shifted to help” in that area.

Reed felt that the amount to students was disappropriate and provided the example that Riley school students are averaging $2,400 per student in this project while Oswego High School students were nearly $30,000 per student and Leighton (which has the smallest population in the district) is approximately $40,445 per student.

She closed by saying, “I really wish you would help the students in proportion.”

The capital project shows 11.3% of it going toward athletics.

Overall, Dr. Goewey explained,”Last March the cost to the taxpayer was $37.87 for a $100,000 home. With the change in building aid from 62% to 86% we now can bring this at $1.15 per year, for 20 years, on a$100,000 home.”

The breakdown is 75% state aid, 17% retiring debt, 7% capital reserves and just 1% local share.

Parent Pam Dowd said,”Eleven point three percent of $1.15 is 13 cents a year for the upgrades to facilities. To vote no because of 13 cents and all the work will not be done.That is just a small piece of the program. Time is now and the price is right. Do it for our community and the kids of Oswego.”

Former district clerk Bill Foley asked the board to simply stay aware of the project in areas of how many millions of dollars would be going to the architects and what impact that would have on planned work.

He also asked them to keep an eye on the project and to do the work the voters had approved.

The $63 million project broken down will see $24.7 million at Oswego High School, $13.1 at Oswego Middle School. $12.7 for Leighton, $4.1 for both Kingsford and Fitzhugh, $3.1 for Minetto and $1.1 for Charles E. Riley.

Phase 1 would commence in June of 2020 and be completed in December 2021 while Phase 4 would complete the project beginning in June of 2030 and completion planned for December 2031.

Among the major items in the proposed capital project are life safety system upgrades in every building, roofs and masonry restoration and reconstruction for KPS and FPS, bringing Minetto classroom up to fire code, and the previously mentioned CER work and at FLS reconstruction of the athletic wing including replacing the original 1955 locker rooms and officials facilities as well as lobby renovation and interior floor finishes.

The secondary schools also have plenty of major parts in the overall plan including the mechanical system, electrical upgrades, new up to code corridor walls and lockers at the middle school.

At OHS, there will be an entire facelift of the music wing, mechanical system upgrades and locker room renovation.

Though the OMS track is included in the building portion of the project the 15-year-old surface needs to be replaced as there has been substantial deterioration. That track is the district track and field facility.

Meanwhile, “exterior renovations” include the athletic and music areas.

A new artificial, 2,000 seat facility will be constructed at the corner of West Utica Street and Hillside Avenue.

Because of the flooding history, it will be raised and bladders will be placed below the field.

The current Wilber Field will be two grass practice fields, while artificial turf baseball and softball fields will be built.

The baseball field will also be suitable for the marching band practice area.

Tennis and basketball courts along Buc Boulevard will also be shifted.

Another part of the project will be the reconstruction of Buc Boulevard. as well as the Liberty Street parking lot (which is starting to sink) and retaining wall (which is starting to collapse).

Information regarding the project is available on the Oswego City School District website (oswego.org).