Press-Republican

February 6, 2013

ELCS sets vote on capital project for March 5

State aid would cut cost totaxpayers, school super says

By ALVIN REINER
Press-Republican

---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Some roof and flooring replacement at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School are part of a $651,293 capital project up for vote soon.

Elizabethtown-Lewis Superintendent and Principal Scott J. Osborne said the project utilizes EXCEL aid to substantially reduce any local tax impact for district residents.

The two propositions up for vote are the result of numerous public meetings, staff meetings, on-site architect examinations, surveys and constituent feedback, he said.

A public hearing on the EXCEL renovation project will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27, in the ELCS Conference Room.The vote is noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, at the school.

Osborne pointed out that making repairs and renovating buildings now will reduce costs in the long run for taxpayers, especially while the state is offering $114,000 in EXCEL money to the district.

This one-time funding opportunity would give ELCS additional aid for state-authorized improvements that address health and safety, security, roof structures and overall operating efficiency.

IDENTIFIED AS PRIORITY

Osborne said the district recently conducted a survey and found that 94 percent of stakeholders felt that keeping the school building in good shape is a priority.

”Our school building represents our community’s investment in students and education,” he said.

”Maintaining our facility demonstrates good stewardship of that investment, and it shows our students, faculty and staff that we’re committed to providing them a solid learning environment.”

Osborne pointed out that nearby districts — Chazy Central Rural School; and AuSable Valley, Peru, Plattsburgh, Ticonderoga and Willsboro central schools — have approved one-time EXCEL projects.

The ELCS vote is scheduled in March rather than with the budget vote in May to allow the project to fit within the Education Department timeline.

“We’re hoping to get the project approved in order to start around July 1, when there are a minimal number of students in the building,” Osborne said.

The work is expected to take place over two summers.

PROPOSITION 1

The vote is divided into two propositions.

“Proposition 1 is essential to keep the building in good shape,” Osborne said. “A section of the roof is in major disrepair, and we have experienced leakage in the areas of the band/music room and shop.”

The roof was part of the construction project of 1989-90. The water heater is 20-plus years old, as are the circulation pumps, Osborne said. The chimney needs re-pointing, and the plumbing and hardware in the old elementary section and upstairs restrooms have leaks. In addition, the sewage ejector is in disrepair, and there are concerns with the boiler pumps.

Proposition 1, which totals $341,293, would have no tax implications to ELCS property owners.

PROPOSITION 2

Proposition 2, which totals $310,000, focuses on asbestos abatement and replacing the flooring in elementary classrooms.

Osborne said the carpet served them well but has taken a beating from daily foot traffic with classrooms full of kids for more than 20 years. In order to put in new tile, the flooring needs to be removed.

“Right now, there are no health problems, but if we pull up the carpet, the asbestos is exposed. I think it is important in the long term to take care of these items.”

Proposition 2 requires local taxpayer funding of about 33 percent, which would translate to 4 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“Your school building is reflective of your community,” Osborne said. “Overall, it is in fantastic condition, and we want to keep it that way.”

Email Alvin Reiner: rondackrambler@yahoo.com