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reached or are near the end-of-life expectancy; deteriorating building components; and the ability to service or repair outdated equipment.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
Improvements proposed for Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School
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.