By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — Voters will head to the polls Jan. 9 to determine the fate of a $15 million capital project for the RCS school district.
If approved by voters, the project will bring renovations to all four schools in the district — the two elementary schools, and the middle and high schools — as well as the district’s transportation building and warehouse.
The proposed project is slated to cost $15,026,250, with $5.1 million coming from capital reserves set aside by the district and a $9,926,250 bond. State aid is expected to pay 72.1% of the cost of the project, and the bond would be paid off in 15 years, according to the district.
“There will be a tax increase associated with the project that will be offset by New York State building aid and use of the district’s capital reserve fund,” according to the school district’s website.
The district was scheduled to send out information to local households by the end of December directing residents to the district’s website, www.rcscsd.org, for additional information, District Superintendent Dr. Brian Bailey said at the board of education’s December meeting.
The bulk of the cost of the project would go towards renovations at the four district schools, including $1,991,250 at A.W. Becker Elementary School; $2,246,250 at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School; $2,112,500 at RCS Middle School; and the largest amount, $7,372,500, at RCS High School.
Two district buildings would also see renovations, including the transportation building, for $1,057,500, and a smaller amount, $246,250, at the district’s warehouse.
The project is expected to have an impact on the tax rate of 5 cents for every $1,000 of the assessed value of the home, which equates to $5 a year for a home valued at $100,000, and $10 a year for a home assessed at $200,000, according to the district.
The components of the construction project were developed with input from the Building Condition Survey that is required by the state every five years and the district’s Facilities Planning Committee.
Components of the project include reconstruction of the parking lot at the high school and middle school campus to improve traffic flow and drop-off areas. The campus would also see improvements to outdoor lighting, new ventilators, the addition of carbon monoxide detectors near the schools’ boiler rooms, replacement of old skylights, exterior masonry work and fire system upgrades, among other renovations.
The two elementary schools would get sidewalks from classrooms on the first floor to “safe zones,” a portable lift to the stage to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a new cafeteria air handling unit and a new hot water heater, carbon monoxide detectors and exterior insulation, among others, as well as asbestos abatement in several rooms on the second floor. The driveway and parking lots at Pieter B. Coeymans Elementary School would be reconstructed, and the south parking lot at A.W. Becker Elementary School would be replaced.
Improvements at the district’s transportation building would include a new door in the garage bay, upgraded lighting from fluorescent to LED, new emergency/exit lights, a new fire alarm system and a new bus lift, among others. The warehouse would get new ventilation equipment, an emergency generator, carbon monoxide system, hot water heater and fire alarm system, along with other renovations.
If the project is approved by voters Jan. 9, the district expects to submit final construction plans to the State Education Department for approval in November, and the project is slated to be reviewed and approved by the state by the spring or summer of 2024, and should go out to bid in the summer of 2024. Construction would begin in spring 2025 and would be scheduled for completion in the summer of 2026.
Voting will take place Jan. 9 from 1-8 p.m. in the RCS High School main gym at 2025 Route 9W, Ravena. For more information or to obtain an absentee ballot, call District Clerk Sue Starr at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-756-5200 ext. 6000. Completed absentee ballots must be received by the district clerk by 5 p.m. on the day of the election, Jan. 9.