Capital Improvement Project

2021 Capital Improvement Project

The Guilderland Central School District Board of Education approved a $21.8 million capital project, which will be put before voters on October 7, 2021. The project will focus on several priority areas, including improving learning opportunities, enhancing safety and security for students and staff, and replacing or updating aging infrastructure. As always, our mission is to empower all students to succeed in the 21st Century. 

History | Project OverviewProject Scope and Costs/Financial Impacts | Vote October 7, 2021 | Priority Projects by Location | Project Timeline | Board Presentations and Discussions | FAQs | Questions or Comments

History

Rendering of outdoor classroom space.
Rendering of a proposed outdoor classroom space.

In October 2018, the Guilderland School District put a $42.7 million capital project proposal before voters. The capital project was developed to address necessary improvements to enhance the safety and security of district buildings and grounds, make learning environments healthier and more comfortable, and modernize learning spaces. The proposal was voted down by 58 votes, with a tally of 1,375 No votes (51%) to 1,317 Yes votes (49%). The district revised the proposal, taking feedback from the exit survey and reduced the cost to $30.9 million. Certain aspects of the project, including modernized learning spaces, were eliminated from the revised proposal as a result. This proposal was included as a separate proposition during the May 2019 budget vote on the district’s annual budget, which voters approved. The work of that project is ongoing across the district.

In May 2021, the district formed a Facilities Committee that included community representatives to review the district’s needs for capital improvements. Identified needs arose from regular building condition assessments, improvements deferred as a result of the failed 2018 capital project vote, as well as needs that came to light due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A subcommittee was formed to explore track resurfacing and the addition of a new turf field. The committees met multiple times and heard presentations from GCSD Director of Facilities Clifford Nooney, Coordinator for Instructional Technology Natalia LeMoyne,  and Director of Health/PE & Interscholastic Athletics David Austin. After a review of the district’s needs and much consideration, the Facilities Committee developed a plan to put to the Board of Education for adoption.

Many of the items in the current proposal were originally included in the 2018 voter referendum but were removed from the proposal that was eventually voted on and approved by the community in May 2019. 

Project Overview

Windows at Guilderland High School
Windows like these as Guilderland High School would be replaced and updated to increase efficiency.

At the August 10 Board of Education meeting, the Board voted unanimously to adopt a resolution for a capital project totaling $21,763,469. Working with representatives from the district’s engineering and architecture firms and based on the community’s feedback, GCSD administrators and officials have identified projects that support the district’s priorities of improving learning opportunities, enhancing safety and security for students and staff, and replacing or updating aging infrastructure.

What’s Proposed?

Rendering of outdoor classroom space.

Ongoing facilities condition assessments combined with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought to light priority needs that fall into three main areas: Infrastructure Upgrades (including those that were eliminated from the 2018 Project), Outdoor Learning Spaces and Technology Replacement & Data Security. Here are the projects in the proposal as they relate to these areas:

Building Environments that Support Success

  • Classroom storage and workspace cabinetry
  • Security cameras
  • HVAC equipment, including boilers
  • Roofing/paving
  • Locker replacement
  • Window replacement
  • Lighting replacement
  • Bathroom renovations
  • Technology production labs renovation

Outdoor Learning that Inspires

  • Five playground upgrades
  • Seven outdoor classroom pavilions
  • Track replacement and synthetic turf field

Educational Technology that Empowers

Technology replacement and data security

  • Improved instructional learning technology, virtualization
  • Classroom projection system replacements

Project Scope and Costs/Financial Impacts Rendering of outdoor classroom space.

Total estimated cost of 2021 Capital Project: $21,763,469
Estimated state aid at approximately 66.8%: $16.2 million
Tax impact per $1,000 assessed value: $0.199

Annual tax impact: $59.60*

*estimated full value tax on median assessed home of $299,000 (Guilderland)

Three ways the district is reducing the wallet impact:

  1.  Leveraging state aid: For every dollar borrowed, the state would reimburse the district approximately $0.67 for all eligible expenses.
  2. Timing of debts: GCSD would introduce this 15-year old debt as old debt expires, lessening the budgetary impact.
  3. Using federal funds: $769,430 in CRRSA federal funding will be used to lower the cost of borrowing, resulting in savings to taxpayers.

Vote – Thursday, October 7, 2021, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Elementary school classroom
Classrooms such as these would have original casework, countertops and sinks removed and replaced. Vinyl asbestos floor tiles below the original casework would be abated.

In-person voting for the Guilderland Central School District’s Capital Improvement Capital Project will take place on Thursday, October 7, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at all five elementary schools. You must vote at the elementary school in the zone where you live. To find your polling place, use the searchable database.

To vote, you must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of Guilderland Central School District for at least 30 days prior to the vote. Voter registration is required in the Guilderland Central School District. For more information on voter eligibility, visit here

 

Priority Projects by Location

Altamont Elementary School 

  • Playground upgrades
  • Outdoor classroom pavilion 
  • Casework and cabinetry replacement in 1952-wing classrooms
  • Sewage ejector pump replacement
  • Security camera replacement
  • Instructional technology and infrastructure improvements

Guilderland Elementary School

  • Playground upgrades
  • Outdoor classroom pavilion 
  • Casework and cabinetry replacement in 1955-wing classrooms 
  • Nurse’s office mechanical system replacement
  • Security camera replacement
  • Instructional technology and infrastructure improvements

Lynnwood Elementary School

  • Playground upgrades
  • Outdoor classroom pavilion 
  • Casework and cabinetry replacement in 1965-wing classrooms
  • Unit ventilator replacement in 1965 & 1967-wing classrooms
  • Security camera replacement
  • Instructional technology and infrastructure improvements

Pine Bush Elementary School

  • Playground equipment replacement
  • Outdoor classroom pavilion 
  • Security camera replacement
  • Instructional technology and infrastructure improvements

Westmere Elementary School

  • Playground upgrades
  • Outdoor classroom pavilion
  • Metal corridor locker replacements
  • Casework and cabinetry replacement in 1952 & 1954-wing classrooms
  • Security camera replacement
  • Instructional technology and infrastructure improvements

Farnsworth Middle School

  • Mill asphalt pavement at front parking lot
  • Outdoor classroom pavilion
  • Partial roof replacement (2004 vintage)
  • Technology production lab renovations (2)
  • Boiler replacement
  • Bathroom renovations (12)
  • Nurse’s Office HVAC Unit replacement
  • Classroom unit ventilator replacement (5)
  • Security camera replacement
  • Instructional technology and infrastructure improvements

Guilderland High School

  • Paving at rear of building to receiving area
  • Water main line replacement
  • New turf field and track replacement
  • Outdoor classroom pavilion
  • Roof replacement (1998-2000 vintage)
  • Slab replacement (room 607)
  • Window replacement (1953, 1955, 2007 vintage)
  • Boiler replacements (3)
  • Mechanical tunnel upgrades
  • Auditorium bathroom renovations (2)
  • Building bathroom renovations (2)
  • Auditorium HVAC upgrades
  • Cafeteria A, B & C HVAC upgrades
  • Classroom unit ventilator replacements (10)
  • Large Group Instruction room HVAC upgrades
  • Speciality classrooms HVAC upgrades (7)
  • Business Education classrooms HVAC upgrades (4)
  • Security camera replacement
  • Instructional technology and infrastructure improvements

Project Timeline

  • June 29, 2021 — Facilities Committee recommendation
  • July 1, 2021 — Board of Education review and discussion
  • July 27, 2021 — Board Education review and discussion
  • August 10, 2021 — Board of Education adopts bond resolution
  • October 7, 2021 — Capital project vote
  • November 2021-March 2022 — Project design development
  • April-July 2022 — State Education Department review and approval
  • August-September 2022 — Bidding completed and contracts awarded
  • October 2022-August 2023 — Construction phase

Note: Playground and track/turf field construction work would be purchased utilizing NYS OGS  Contract vendors and could start in summer 2022

Board Presentations and Discussions

August 10, 2021 Board of Education meeting

July 27, 2021 Board of Education meeting

July 27, 2021 Proposed Facilities Improvements PowerPoint

July 1, 2021 Board of Education meeting

FAQs

Q: What is a capital project?

A: Just like a home, school facilities need regular attention and upkeep to continue to operate year after year as originally intended. The New York State Department of Education requires school districts to inspect its property regularly and maintain a five-year capital improvement plan. Capital improvement projects are a way for school districts to complete more substantial facilities work, including upgrades, renovations and replacements as compared to regular maintenance.

Q: Why doesn’t the district complete capital construction work as part of the annual school budget?

A: Routine repairs and maintenance are funded through the district’s general fund as part of the annual school district budget. Larger projects and capital improvements cannot realistically be funded through the annual school district budget. 

The annual school budget does contain funds to support routine repairs and maintenance of the district’s one million square feet of buildings and 265 acres of grounds. However, the cost of more significant projects, like roofing, paving, HVAC work, or major renovations is too costly to be included in the regular operating budget of the district, especially with a cap on the tax levy. By funding these projects as part of a capital project, it allows the district to spread the expense over a longer period of time and to fund this work in large part through New York State Education Department Building Aid with minimal impact on local taxpayers. For every dollar borrowed, Guilderland will be reimbursed approximately $0.67 for all eligible expenses.

Q: Why do we need a new capital project if work is still being completed from the last one?

A: The lifespan of a school district capital project can be 3-5 years, from start to finish, including development, community input, bidding, New York State Department of Education approval, and construction. Guilderland’s approach to capital improvement projects has been to complete smaller projects every 5-6 years rather than less frequent, larger, more costly projects that are more time intensive and disruptive. Our district believes that smaller projects are easier to manage and cause less disruption to the educational process. 

Q: How are items in the project determined?

A: New York school districts are required to conduct regular building condition surveys and to develop multi-year facilities plans, which can help identify aging, outdated or energy inefficient school infrastructure and facilities issues related to health and wellness.

Q: Who would benefit from the project?

A: While faculty, staff and the community as a whole would benefit from a capital improvement project, the group that would see the biggest impact is students. The projects proposed in this facilities upgrade plan will provide Guilderland students with more comfortable, safer, and more secure learning environments.  Modernized, updated instructional technology provides GCSD students with collaborative learning opportunities while expanding their perspectives in the classroom.

Q: How does this project benefit the community?

A: Guilderland is recognized as one of the top school districts in the Capital Region and to continue to serve our community well, our learning spaces must be maintained and updated to prepare today’s students for tomorrow. The addition of new outdoor spaces such as classroom pavilions and a turf field, plus upgrades to playground equipment will benefit the community, as well as GCSD students. Guilderland families can use playgrounds and outdoor classroom pavilions for recreation when school is not in session, and the new, improved educational spaces and athletic facilities would be available for community use by civic organizations and youth sport groups. These benefits can positively impact home values too. According to the National Association of Realtors, nearly 30 percent of home buyers list “school quality” as a deciding factor in their home purchase.

Q: Why construct a turf field?

A: In addition to learning in a classroom, all students in the Guilderland Central School District learn in our gymnasiums and on our playing fields. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that outdoor learning spaces are invaluable. By constructing a new turf field, GCSD would have a multi-purpose synthetic turf field that would be usable nearly year-round. It would be lined for multiple sports, including soccer, boys and girls lacrosse, field hockey and football. Presently, field use can be limited due to weather-related conditions. Often, early spring and late fall home games must be rescheduled to sites outside of of GCSD because our grass field is unusable. In contrast, the district anticipates a turf field would be used nearly year round for both athletics and as classroom space for physical education classes. 

Currently, many Guilderland athletic teams are forced to rent alternate practice space at off-site facilities, which can be expensive, costing teams up to $12,000 per season. Traveling to an alternate site requires an additional time commitment for students, which can take away from homework, family and leisure time. A turf field could also generate revenue for the district through facility rentals to outside groups and organizations.

Q. Are artificial turf fields safe for users?

Numerous in-depth studies have been completed on the artificial turf surface materials, backing and infill materials used for most professionally-installed, artificial grass surfaces. Results, to date, do not conclusively prove that synthetic turf and any of the infill materials adversely affect the players on sport field surfaces. 

GCSD has reviewed extensive information made available by the New York State Department of Health on their website, which covers health and safety information, infection risk, latex allergy and heat stress. That information is also available as a PDF document.

Presently, GCSD student athletes often use school parking lots for practices when field conditions are not favorable. In the northeast, this is often the case in early spring and late fall. This situation is not ideal and increases the risk of injury. 

Q: What happens if residents do not approve the proposed capital improvement project?

A: If residents do not approve the proposed capital project in the fall, aging infrastructure as well as comfort, safety and security issues could possibly disrupt students’ instruction and educational environment. GCSD would have to address these issues as needed and the costs for that work would be paid from the district’s operating budget, without state aid reimbursement. Work that is required to be done on an emergency basis is likely to be more costly and much more disruptive to student learning. 

The district could choose to revise the capital project and offer voters a new proposal at a later date; however this delay could result in increased costs.

Q: Who can vote on the proposed project?

A: Qualified voters must be age 18 or older, a U.S. citizen, a resident of the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote, and registered with either the school district or Albany County Board of Elections.  

Q: When and where will the vote take place?

A: The vote is scheduled for October 7, 2021 between the hours of 7:00 am and 9:00 pm at the elementary school in which you reside. 

Q: If the project is approved, when will construction begin?

A: After a project is approved by voters, the plans must be submitted to the New York State Education Department for approval, which can take several months. Construction is slated to begin in fall 2022, if approved

Questions or Comments?

If you have a question that was not answered here, you can email capitalproject@guilderlandschools.net.


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