by Alex Brooks
The Hoosick Falls School Board met in a workshop session on June 1 to finalize plans for the District’s proposed capital project. [private]The Board agreed to go forward with an $18 million plan, to be voted on next October. Although project financing is complicated and there are still some unknowns, the overall plan is to arrange the financing so that the District’s overall cost structure remains unchanged. With the help of State building aid, some Smart Schools funding, and use of existing reserves, the District will replace two previous capital project bonds with the new one and have debt service expense about the same as or less than what the District is paying now.
The scope of work of the project includes about $5 million of work labeled “Safety items.” these include replacement of ceiling tiles, ceiling grids and lighting, replacement of the fire alarm system, new generators to keep the school running if there is a power outage, and a few other items to bring the building up to code. The next section describes items related to replacing the heating system throughout the buildings at a cost of about $7.75 million. The next section describes upgrades to the building-wide technology to support up-to-date computer and communication technology, and the total cost in this section is estimated at $3.2 million. The final section, entitled “Building Renovations,” describes alterations and renovations to the science labs to bring them more up to date, and renovation of all the bathrooms, which together have an estimated cost of just under $3 million. All of these sections together add up to just over $19 million, and The District expects to pay $1,089,000 of that with funding from the Smart Schools Bond Act, so the final estimated cost of the project comes to $18,013,976. State aid for capital projects is currently 80.5%, which means the part of the project to be paid with local taxpayer funds is about $3.5 million. The District has just under $3 million in its Debt Service Fund which is available to help cover the payments once the project is bonded.
After reviewing the project components and discussing them, the Board came to agreement that this is the project they feel is necessary, and this is the project they intend to present to the voters of the District. John Helft said, “To me this is a great project. The School will be way ahead when this is done.”
Superintendent Ken Facin said he has been over every aspect of this project in recent months and is convinced that everything in it is necessary and practical. He described the project as “investing in our kids,” and he said he thinks the community will support that idea. [/private]