Capital Project 2020 puts health & safety, building infrastructure in focus

At its meeting on Dec. 10, the Board of Education adopted a resolution for $9.99 million in capital improvements for Watervliet Junior-Senior High School and Watervliet Elementary School. The resolution will allow the district to bring a proposed capital project totaling $9,996,825 to a public vote on Tuesday, February 4, 2020. The no-frills project proposal addresses the district’s most immediate facilities needs as identified in the latest building condition survey: aging infrastructure, and health and safety improvements.

Facilities Planning Committee provides input for capital project

Beginning last January through June 2019, a Facilities Advisory Committee representing various stakeholder groups, including school administrators, educators, maintenance staff, school board members, students and parents, met with the district’s architectural consultants several times to provide input on a project to present to the Board. Factors considered by the committee included protecting the health and safety of students, staff and school visitors; systems and equipment that have reached or are near the end-of-life expectancy; deteriorating building components; and the ability to service or repair outdated equipment.

The final project scope outlined by the district’s architectural firm, CSArch, during the Board’s October meeting totals nearly $10 million worth of work that specifically targets health and safety and infrastructure needs at the district’s two school buildings.

The project scope includes the following:

  • Replace roofs at high and elementary schools
  • Rebuild and upgrade elevator at high school; replace elevators at elementary school
  • Replace boilers at elementary school; refurbish high school boilers
  • Replace heating circulation pumps at elementary and high schools
  • Replace air ventilation units at high school cafeteria and locker rooms
  • Replace hood exhaust in high school kitchen
  • Replace light fixtures in high school gym
  • Reconstruct drainage at elementary school playground
  • Reconstruct masonry entrance steps at elementary and high schools
  • Upgrade public address wiring and speakers at elementary and high schools

Improvements proposed for Watervliet Elementary School

picture of boilers at Watervliet Elementary School
Boilers at the elementary school will be replaced, as part of the HVAC upgrades proposed in the project.
picture of large puddle at edge of Watervliet Elementary School playground
When it rains, large puddles form in areas of the elementary school playground. To correct this, catch basins will be raised and an additional basin and new drain line will be installed.
picture of the inside of elevator at Watervliet Elementary School
Both the freight (pictured) and passenger elevators in the elementary school have been in service since the building opened in 1953. Finding replacement parts to maintain these vintage elevators has become increasingly difficult over the years. New elevators are proposed as part of the capital project.
picture of cracks in sidewalk and stairs at main entrance to Watervliet Elementary School
Masonry proposed in the project will fix the cracks in the sidewalk and stairway that present a safety hazard for students and staff at the school’s main entrance on 10th Ave.

Improvements proposed for Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School

picture of blocks separating from wall at stairs to the main entrance to Watervliet Junior-Senior High School
Masonry work to repair the brick wall at the junior-senior high school’s main entrance is among the work proposed in the capital project.
picture of section of roof in disrepair at Watervliet Junior Senior High School
The foam roof at the junior-senior high school will be replaced with rubber.
picture of air handler above the kitchen/cafeteria at Watervliet Junior Senior High School
Air handlers, like this one above the high school kitchen/cafeteria, will be replaced, as part of the HVAC upgrades proposed in the capital project.

Project cost breakdown

Health & Safety = $8,538,938 (85%)

  • WES: $4,439,593
  • WJSHS: $4,099,345

Building infrastructure = $1,442,508 (15%)

  • WES: $445,083
  • WJSHS: $997,425

Site infrastructure = $15,378 (less than 1%)

  • WES and WJSHS

Project Total: $9,996,825

Funding the project

State building aid would cover 95 percent of the cost of the proposed capital project. The remaining 5 percent of the project would be funded through a 1.06% increase in the overall property tax levy, based on the current tax cap data for the district. As a result, district officials estimate school taxes would increase $16.67 more per $100,000 of assessed property value in the City of Watervliet, and $24.79 more per $100,000 of assessed property value in Mannsville. 

With voter approval, CSArch would submit plans to the State Education Department to begin the review process. Once approved by the state, architects estimate work on the project would begin in Fall 2021.