Updated Dec. 2, 2016
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the Board of Education agreed to move forward
with a $23.1 million building project that will go before Stillwater
Central School District voters on Thursday, Dec. 8.
Just as with a house or a business, school officials must maintain district buildings so that they continue to meet the needs of students. Construction referendums – like the $23.1 million project going before voters on Dec. 8 – are a way for districts to fund these needed building upgrades, enhancements, and repairs, and receive state building aid to help cover the overall cost.
The proposed project has three components: updates and renovations to the auditorium and music wing at the middle school/high school, safety and security updates to the elementary school, and updates and renovations to the bus garage located at 21 Palmer Street.
Of the $23.1 million, $500,000 of the project will be funded from the district’s fund balance and the remaining will come from state building aid and local taxes. Stillwater is eligible to receive approximately 83.9 percent reimbursement from the state on allowable expenditures. If the project is approved on Dec. 8, the district estimates that the annual average tax increase for homeowners who have a home valued at $200,000 will be $36 (before any exemptions). With the districit eligible for the 83.9 percent reimbursement in state aid and the majority of the project is funded, the district expects the local share to be approximately $3.7 million.
"Over the years, we have made a number of updates, as either mandated by the state, or other patchwork repairs, but we can no longer sustain this approach. We need to think long-term,” Superintendent Patricia Morris said. “This project will help improve student safety, while advancing and improving their educational opportunities. It will also ensure that our buildings run more efficiently, and protect the community’s investment in our district’s facilities. We are committed to providing the necessary advancements while remaining as fiscally conservative as possible."
A public hearing on the project was held on Wednesday, Nov. 30. A PDF version of the presentation can be found here.
Throughout the school year, the auditorium at the middle
school/high school is used for numerous school and community events
including concerts, plays, and other special presentations. Many of
the district’s brightest stars showcase their talents in the
auditorium. The stage floor, which hosts dozens of events a year, is
original with the building, and contains a number of cracks,
presenting a significant safety concern. The stage rigging system is
also original and is unsafe for student use. Under the proposed
project, the stage floor will be refurbished and the rigging system
will be completely replaced. Additionally, the project calls for the
auditorium to be equipped with an air-conditioning unit, a modernized
public address system, and energy-efficient lighting, replacing the
current lighting system which is original with the building.
Music classrooms at the middle school/high school will also be expanded to allow for more room, providing students optimal space for band practice. These learning and performance spaces are expected to benefit the next generation of Stillwater students, as the rooms become more modernized to fit specific needs.
The proposed project also calls for the removal of asbestos flooring at the middle school/high school.
The proposed project also includes security updates to the elementary school, including a security vestibule at the buildings entrance, an emergency response system comprised of video and audio alerts, and the addition of a ventilation system to the kitchen facilities. New corridor lighting and paving of the driveway and parking areas are also included in the proposal.
The existing transportation facility is aging and presents health
and safety issues that need to be addressed. The facility has not had
any major reconstruction work done to the maintenance work bays or the
transportation office area since 1963. The proposed facility upgrades
include the expansion of storage bays as new repair bays, a new roof,
and the reconstruction of the building's exterior, among many other
needed improvements. The existing facility has limited capabilities
for maintaining the bus fleet and limited office space for the
These upgrades would allow the district to perform more of its own maintenance work and therefore reduce the need for outside vendors to complete repairs. In addition, these upgrades would improve the district’s ability to schedule maintenance work, effectively manage emergency repairs, and save money.
“The safe transportation of our students is a top priority of our district, and we believe these renovations will enable us to continue to provide exceptional transportation services,” said Morris.
“This district support the health, safety and education of all
students,” said Morris. “We believe this proposed project supports our
community’s commitment to provide a safe learning environment for our
students, while at the same time, enhancing educational