Board of Education narrows options for capital project

2016 Capital Project

During a public workshop on Monday, Feb. 29, members of the Broadalbin-Perth Board of Education began focusing their plans for a capital project to go before voters in a referendum on Tuesday, May 17. The project will address urgent infrastructure needs; reorganize the district to create a pre-K through grade 6 elementary school at the Perth campus and a grades 7-12 secondary school at the Broadalbin campus; and renovate learning spaces to accommodate more hands-on, project-based learning and allow for expanded program offerings.

Board members considered three project options during Monday’s workshop, ranging in total cost from $32.4 million to $48.4 million. Most board members gravitated toward the middle project option, “Option 2,” with a tentative cost of $39.7 million, saying the option includes all the necessary renovations, along with most of the proposed program enhancements.

“We’re having to really get creative to try to keep everything in the project that we know will be good for kids and enhance their educational experiences while keeping the total price tag as low as we can get it,” Superintendent Stephen Tomlinson said.

One example of this is a performance space at the Perth campus. As the board looks to reorganize the district’s schools and turn the current intermediate and middle schools into an elementary school, they have recognized that the school will need to have a quality performance space.

“Our elementary students are on stage from pre-K on up,” Tomlinson said. “At the intermediate school and TLC, they gather several times a week for assemblies, presentations and performances. We’re looking to create efficiencies with this capital project, so an elementary performance space is a must. Otherwise, we’re left with having to continue to bus students to the high school so they can use the auditorium.”

The most expensive capital project option the board members looked at Monday called for creation of a performance space on the third floor of the current middle school, while the least expensive option included no elementary performance space. However, by using about a third of the current middle school gymnasium, Tomlinson explained the district could create an elementary performance space on the first floor of the Perth building at a cost that’s $2 million less than the third-floor option while preserving sufficient gymnasium space to meet the needs of the school and community.

At the Broadalbin campus, which will house students in grades 7-12 after the reorganization, the board is considering various options for renovations to the high school cafeteria and kitchen. By going with a middle-of-the-road option, the renovations will allow the school to consolidate its food services so all students in grades 7-12 will eat in the high school cafeteria, and at the same time eliminate the current inefficient transportation of prepared food from the TLC kitchen to the high school cafeteria every day.

The $39.7 million plan doesn’t include an additional softball field, soccer field and playground on land adjacent to the Perth campus, as well as more significant upgrades to playing fields at the Broadalbin site, which were part of more expensive options being considered.

Board members will hold another workshop at 7 p.m., Monday, March 7, in the high school Virtual AP room, during which they will hear more details about proposed program enhancements from B-P’s building principals. The board is scheduled to adopt the final capital project proposal during its regular meeting starting at 6 p.m., Monday, March 21, in the Virtual AP room. Qualified residents will then vote on the proposal during the annual school budget vote and board elections on Tuesday, May 17.

Broadalbin-Perth will hold public forums on the capital project at 6 p.m., Monday, March 28, and Tuesday, April 19, both in the Virtual AP room. Residents will also have the opportunity to learn about the capital project during the annual budget hearing at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 10, in the Margaret Robin Blowers Auditorium.

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