SANDY CREEK – The Sandy Creek Central School District held a community forum on Jan. 17 to share information regarding their proposed capital improvement project.
During the forum, Superintendent Kyle Faulkner explained the need to put forth a project saying, “A building project is no different than your house, you have to put money into it to keep it from deteriorating.”
The process began in January of 2017 when the facilities improvement committee and King & King Architects, convened to begin looking at the needs of the facilities.
The district also went to the New York State Education Department to determine what sort of numbers they could receive in building aid. In September they received an answer from the state and began in earnest to hone the list of items from wants to district needs.
One of the big aspects of concern was a second area of egress to the bus facility, as well as the condition of the bus garage building.
Currently, in order to get to the bus garage, there is one way in and out, and the district is concerned that in the event of an emergency involving the gymnasium, access to the buses could be blocked and there would be no way for buses to exit the area to evacuate students to safety.
“That is very concerning to me and anyone who has children here,” said Faulkner.
Several options were looked at, including creating an emergency road behind the K-12 building, creating an access road through a large wetlands area and creating a second driveway through a neighboring property.
In addition to concerns about emergency use, neighboring towns and fire departments use a fuel island located near the bus garage which is not up to current code, and in order to access the fuel, trucks and buses need to back into or out of the driveway, which can be a safety hazard.
Relocating that fuel island and providing an alternative traffic pattern would make the shared fuel island much safer to use.
In the fall of 2017, the district sent surveys to district residents, staff members and students to learn what they would be willing to support in a project.
A question whether air conditioning in the high school would be supported with, or without, a tax impact showed that it was not something that residents at this time could support, so it came out.
The survey also showed that while most responses could support a small tax impact, it was clear that no tax impact was preferred.
What the committee came up with is a needs only referendum with no anticipated tax impact.
Faulkner said, “This project is really focused on the safety and security of our kids, our staff while at the same time trying to keep our facilities in a condition we think is best for our kids.”
The proposed scope of work for the project will focus on building a new bus maintenance facility, renovate the existing bus garage for future use as a bus storage building, create a second means of egress to Salisbury St. through a property purchase, and creating a shared services fuel island with above ground tanks to meet current code.
In addition, entrances to the elementary and high school entrances would be renovated to create secure points of entry, replacing door hardware to improve lockdown procedures and adding security film to glass at select locations to increase security.
The proposal includes a much-needed roof replacement, with a minimum 20-year warranty, replacement of the fire alarm system, some masonry work, some sitework, some structural repair, some door replacement, some work in the band room, some flooring replacement and some locker replacement.
HVAC replacement of some units, with no new air conditioning is also included.
According to Kerry Tarolli, a partner with the King & King, it is a one-to-one replacement of existing units that have failed or have exceeded their useful life.
“It’s all pretty nuts and bolts infrastructure things, nothing is particularly glamorous or extravagant as part of this proposed project,” Tarolli said.
The $25,118,000 project will be paid for through maximizing state building aid, (83.2%), the use of remaining EXCEL aid and district capital reserves, leaving no anticipated tax impact for residents.
“All the work we have discussed, including the purchase of the property for egress is under that $25 million dollar figure,” said Faulkner, adding that the district is currently in negotiation with property owners to acquire the land.
Additional community forums are planned on Feb. 12tat the Lacona Town Office and on Feb. 13 at the Orwell Town Office, both at 7 p.m., to continue to share information with community members, but Superintendent Faulkner encouraged anyone with questions to call the district office if they are unable to attend one of the forums.
Information is also available on the district’s website at www.SCCS.cnyric.org.
Vote on the proposed project will be held March 6 from noon to 8 p.m. in the district board room.