The Facilities Master Plan mentions different phases. Is there a second phase or unfinished work?
No. The project presented to the voters is a single project that includes all the work the Board thought was needed to bring our buildings’ systems into good operational order and serve our students for the next 20 or more years. The Facilities Master Plan does not represent the final project; its purpose was to serve as a guide to make decisions. During the development of the Facilities Master Plan, Board members, staff, and administrators reviewed lists of items and prioritized them as either must have/should have/like to have. The Board felt that some of these options, such as air-conditioning every classroom in every building and larger expansions of classroom space, did not justify the added cost to the taxpayer and therefore eliminated them in the final project scope. This is not unfinished work, but a prioritization of the District's needs.
Who compiled with the list of work and the estimated costs, and what is their expertise/qualifications?
Many of the suggested renovations were first documented in the 2010 Building Condition Survey, which was prepared by the architectural professionals at CS Arch. Over the course of approximately 18 months, KG&D Architects, another architectural firm, also examined building conditions and from this combined research, developed the recommendations listed in the Facilities Master Plan.
The Facilities Committee, which serves as an advisory committee to the Board, was also involved in the process. This committee is made up of three Board members, three administrative staff members, and two to three community members with strong architectural, engineering, and facilities management expertise.
The Palombo Group, a construction management firm, verified the cost estimates presented by the architects.
The Board of Education made the final decisions on what items from the Facilities Master Plan project proposals to include and ultimately present to the voters.
Facility Committee 2014
Steven Greenfield, Chair
Aimee HemmingerMaria C. RiceRichard LindenSteve Callahan
*Michael Domitrovits (2015)
*Jacob Lawrence (2016)
Facility Committee 2013
Patrick Rausch, Chair
Dominick ProfaciMaria C. RiceRichard LindenSteve Callahan
*Joseph Daidone*Roderick Dressel
Facility Committee 2012
Patrick Rausch, Chair
Dominick ProfaciMaria C. RiceRichard LindenSteve Callahan
* Community members with architectural, engineering, and facilities management expertise.
What assumptions were made with State Aid?
We have intentionally been conservative in our State Aid estimates, which were prepared by both KG&D Architects and our Assistant Superintendent for Business, Richard Linden. Both have extensive experience in school building finance. The District typically qualifies for 60 percent reimbursement on qualifying costs. However, after accounting for various factors that impact the State Aid formula, a figure of 50 percent was used for calculations in order to provide a more conservative estimate.
A preliminary estimate is generally provided by the State Education Department once the final architectural plans are submitted for approval. Due to the high cost of preparing these plans (estimated to cost about $2 million), they are not developed until after voter approval for a project is obtained.
The actual process for finalizing State Aid does not begin until after a project is complete and the final cost reports are submitted to the State Education Department.
Although State Aid cannot yet be verified, as an added level of due diligence, Superintendent Maria Rice has spoken with Carl T. Thurnau, the director of Facilities Planning at the New York State Education Department, regarding the process for estimating State Aid. Subsequently, Mr. Linden reviewed the process for State Aid estimates for the renovations with the District’s project manager at the Office of Facilities Planning. Mr. Linden is confident that he estimated our State Aid reimbursement correctly.
Why doesn’t the cost of construction found in the Master Plan align with our perception of a homeowner’s cost?
A school district is required to follow more stringent building codes, and may only hire contractors who pay prevailing wages that are established by the New York State Department of Labor. These factors cause a significant increase in costs compared to what a homeowner would pay for a home renovation.
The costs provided for the proposed work are only estimates. The actual cost of the work will not be available until after the final plans are developed (which occurs after voter approval is obtained) and bids are awarded. The estimates used are based on school construction industry standards that are quite complex and heavily regulated. The estimates provided by KG&D Architects take these considerations into account. These estimates were also verified by The Palombo Group, a construction management firm. The estimates are in line with what these professionals deem as reliable for the purposes of planning a project.
Why not just do a lot of small projects?
Our facilities need attention. The Board does not feel that presenting multiple projects is feasible. Planning and executing a project is a major commitment of time from the school administration and Board of Education, diverting efforts from other important topics. It also costs money to hold special elections. There is also a cost savings in bidding a large project versus several smaller projects. This $52.9 million project would bring the buildings up to modern code and educational standards that can serve the community well into the future.
Explain renovation versus new construction. Is good money being thrown away in a building that is so old?
Old buildings are not useless, but they do need to be updated to stay useful. This is not an uncommon practice. Look around at some of the most prestigious colleges and government buildings in our nation, and you will find buildings that are far older than our Middle School. The renovations proposed for the Middle School found in this project would bring it up to modern code and educational standards that can serve the community well into the future.
Why does the MS need 33,000 extra square feet? If an extension were built on the HS, it would be smaller than the proposed MS.
The additional 33,000 square footage planned at the current Middle School is primarily for an educational purpose. This includes:
- Separation of Band from regular classrooms.
- Providing for a chorus room (none exists now).
- Providing locker rooms adjacent to the gym (they are in the basement now).
- Providing for an adequate sized library and cafeteria.
- Increasing the number of classrooms due to the number of students and mandated programs.
If an extension were built onto the HS under a consolidation plan, it would be smaller than the Middle School (with the new space) for several reasons, including:
Was Enrollment and Building Capacity Considered?
- It may be possible to share some areas (such as the auditorium).
- The Middle School is also currently the home of the central kitchen for the entire district.
- An addition at the HS location would be designed differently in order to minimize square footage for hallway space.
It is critical when planning adequate facilities to insure that the buildings can appropriately accommodate the current and projected student population. The Master Plan analysis relies on the District’s demographic projections from 10/4/2013, which project modest changes to enrollment both up and down, at various age groups with no statistically significant overall change. This year's projections are now available.
New York State approves projects based on the reliable duration of the cohort survival method for projections as summarized below:
K – 6 – Plan facilities for the projected enrollment that will be in place in 5 years.
7‐12 – Plan facilities for the projected enrollment that will be in place in 10 years.
These considerations were factored into the decision-making process. Also factored into the calculation are the size of the room, standard room utilization rates and a programming and efficiency factor for filling each classroom. The result is a specific and realistic capacity for each student occupied teaching station in every room in the District. Based on this detailed analysis it shows that there is some excess space in Duzine and Lenape and that the Middle School and High School are currently short of space and will remain this way throughout the projection period if there are no modifications.Has the BOE considered a mesh divider for the gym wall?
Yes. The current gymnasium is frequently used as two separate educational spaces. While a mesh divider would be less expensive, it does not provide any barrier to sound and would result in noise interference.
Why do we need to replace the roof with slate? When was the roof last repaired? When was it identified as an issue?
The slate roof is 80+ years old and needs to be replaced. It has been identified as an issue in every Building Condition Survey completed back to at least 2005. The district did emergency repairs two to three years ago to install edges to “catch” any falling slate on the roof before it hit the ground.
The Middle School is designated as a historical building. Certain elements for upgrading the exterior of the building must be met in order for the New York State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) to approve the design. This organization oversees the historical buildings in New York State and the District is obligated to meet their guidelines. This will have an impact on the final materials selected.
The final decision on the roofing material would be made at the time the scope of work is finalized. Costs for both slate and another material could be obtained when the work is bid. The final decision would be up to the BOE after reviewing the actual costs submitted in the bidding process.
Why is the cost of the paving and concrete repair at the HS so high, and can't the cracks just be sealed?
The cracks in the HS driveway are filled and sealed every year. The problem continues to increase each year. The architect experts have recommended that the driveway be totally replaced to address these issues. This has been identified in every Building Condition Survey since 2005.
How Can We Ensure Project is Completed Correctly and Within Budget?
The voters are being asked to authorize $52.9 million. By law, the project cannot exceed this amount, so it is essential that the construction process is managed carefully. The Board has retained the services of the Palombo Group to oversee the construction management of the project. These professionals have thoroughly vetted the anticipated project costs used in the $52.9 million proposal and will work to keep the project on time and on budget. The firm, which is located in Dutchess County, comes highly recommended by other school districts. They have been involved in many local school projects, including work at Millbrook, Hyde Park, Monticello, and Poughkeepsie.
Is Energy Efficiency and Sustainability a Factor?
The Board and its design team are committed to taking a leadership position on issues of energy efficiency and sustainability. The project will include systems and facilities that demonstrate this commitment. Once funding is approved, the detailed design process will commence and all viable strategies will be thoroughly investigated and reviewed with the District.
What Happens to Students While Work is Underway?
The Capital Project proposal maintains the existing four campuses and current grade level configurations. After a lengthy exploration of possible alternatives, including multiple consolidation options, the Board decided to keep all buildings in operation and restore/update them to serve the community into the future. To limit learning disruptions as much as possible, no students will be relocated to other buildings during the implementation of the proposed Capital Project. This will be accomplished by completing the project in phases. Both the Middle School and High School are getting additional classroom space. The new space will be built first, allowing students to use this space while other parts of the building are under construction. Nights, weekends, and summer construction will also take place. If any unforeseen circumstances arise, they will be handled with the least disruption possible. If approved, it is anticipated that the project would be completed during the 2017-2018 school year.