Bemus Point Board Finalizes Project Scope

ELLERY – The two-phase, $16.4 million capital project being proposed by the Bemus Point Central School District is moving forward.

Last week, the Board of Education held a regular meeting to discuss the project, and authorized Michael Mansfield, superintendent, to move forward with the project plans as they were presented to the public in three separate meetings last month.

After a series of three public meetings were held throughout the last week of September, Mansfield said the plans remain unchanged. He said last week’s meeting served to reinforce the intent of the project proposal, while introducing it to board members who hadn’t yet seen the plans.

“It was basically the same presentation that we showed last month, I just did it again for the board members who hadn’t seen it,” Mansfield said. “There was a pretty sizable public contingent for a board meeting, so we went through the presentation one more time for the board and the public to ask questions and provide input and comments.”

As it stands, the project is divided into two separate propositions and addresses needs in the bus garage, elementary school and Maple Grove Jr.-Sr. High School buildings.

The first part of the project, referred to as “Proposition One,” entails numerous modifications to each of the three district buildings within the areas of health and safety, renovations and maintenance. Proposition One is estimated to cost a total of $8.4 million, and is said to result in no tax increase. This will be possible by replacing the expiring debt from the district’s last major capital projects in 1994 and 1999.

“The debt is coming off of those, so we now have the ability to do a substantial project without increasing the local tax levy in the budget,” Mansfield said during a presentation last month. “So that’s a timing issue and, at this point, this is a good time to do that.”

The second part of the project, Proposition Two, will only involve the Maple Grove and elementary school buildings – with the biggest overhaul being in the form of an upgrade to the entire lockdown access security system. Proposition Two is estimated to cost slightly more than $8 million, with the borrowing of the money taking place during the 2015-16 school year and the first payment budgeted for 2016-17. The 2016-17 budget then would reflect an estimated local share of $225,000, and an estimated tax levy increase of 2.86 percent.

“Some of the input we’ve received has been in regard to even more things,” Mansfield said. “Things like (putting) turf on our fields and building a swimming pool were brought up, so those things were being revisited.”

The next Bemus Point Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Oct. 21, when Mansfield said the board will then take more official action in the project’s progression.

“We’ll have another board meeting on Oct. 21 to do the official kinds of things to prepare for the project,” he said. “We’ll do an official approval of the final scope and cost projection, the SEQRA and a resolution for the special meeting and vote.”

Mansfield said the board is working to determine a date on which it will hold its mandatory public information meeting.

For information regarding the proposed project, visit the district website at www.bemusptcsd.org and click the “Capital Project” tab. Provided there is the slideshow presented at each of last month’s information sessions, the project scope – complete with specific modifications to each building – and the project timeline.