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Catskill to outline $40.8M project at meeting

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The exterior of Catskill High School.
January 7, 2019 10:02 pm

CATSKILL — The Catskill Central School District is holding a meeting tonight to discuss a proposed $40.8 million capital project.

The proposal includes improvements to the district’s academic programs, classrooms, buildings, security controls, roads, parking lots and athletic fields, according to a statement from the district on catskillcsd.org.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. tonight in the middle school auditorium. Catskill residents are scheduled to vote on the project Feb. 12.

“An overview of the proposed capital project will be presented,” Catskill School Superintendent Ronel Cook said of the meeting. “This is an opportunity for the public to ask questions about the project.”

Three additional forums and meetings are scheduled to review the capital project improvements throughout the month, including two Board of Education meetings Jan. 16 and 30 in the middle school auditorium and a superintendent’s forum at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 in the high school library.

If approved by voters, the proposed improvements will enable the school district to better prepare students for college and career readiness. One improvement includes additional spaces designed for collaborative project-based learning, according to the district.

The proposed project was developed by gathering information and comment from staff, students and community members and a Building Condition Survey performed in 2017. Input from stakeholders was crucial to create a shared vision for district facilities and define the project scope, according to a statement from the district.

The result was a $40,795,000 project that officials say will benefit all Catskill Central School District students, staff and community members.

The district expects to be reimbursed by the state 69.5 cents for every eligible dollar spent. The monthly tax increase for the average single family homeowner is estimated to be $8.41 to cover the borrowing costs, according to the district.

Project funding will come from $4 million the district set aside in a capital reserve fund over the last two years and through bonds, which the district will repay over a 15-year span, according to the district.

Other specific improvements included in the project include a STEM lab in the middle school and improving athletic fields. The science, technology, engineering and math lab will be constructed in the existing gym, according to the district.

“A new gymnasium addition will be added to the middle school, as the existing gym is not large enough for classes or athletic competitions,” Cook said.

The lower athletic fields behind the middle school and high school will have drainage, soil and layout improvements, the superintendent added, while the upper field will have a reconstructed track, a synthetic turf field for soccer and other sports, spectator bleachers and field lighting for night events.

“Synthetic turf will allow us to have more efficient use of the competition field and games are much less likely to be canceled or rescheduled due to field conditions,” Cook said.

Heating, plumbing, air conditioning and ventilation improvements are also included in the capital project.

“The majority of our classroom spaces are currently air-conditioned with portable A/C units that are free-standing and vent to the outside with a hose,” Cook said. “This is an air conditioner that is typically used in a residential setting to cool off a room. They are ineffective and inefficient when used in the school classrooms and are not large enough to adequately cool the space.

“We are including air conditioning in unit ventilators for each classroom that need to be replaced because they are beyond useful life. This will allow for more comfortable and lower ambient noise classrooms, which enhance student learning and increase test performance.”

The district hired Bryan Manning of BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers to lead the project task force and U. W. Marx Construction Company as the construction manager, Catskill’s business administrator Joseph Jimick said in October.

For more information about the project or meeting schedule, visit catskillcsd.org.