Frewsburg Approves Building Project

FREWSBURG – The community has spoken and a proposed $5,656,000 capital project has been approved for the Frewsburg Central School district.

After the polls were closed in Tuesday’s vote, the project proposal was approved by a vote of 107 to 78 – a 29-vote margin. By receiving approval from its community, the capital project will institute a number of mostly internal renovations to the Frewsburg middle/high school building.

“The Board of Education and I are grateful to the community for their continued support and commitment to our school district,” said Superintendent Danielle O’Connor following the return of the results. “We are pleased to offer our students a better educational experience through renovations at the middle/high school building.”

The main objectives of the project will include: auditorium upgrades for increased instructional use and community access; the relocation of the middle/high school office to improve security and facilitate student access; the construction of new physical science, reading and ISS classrooms; second-floor improvements such as study hall, computer classrooms and a new distance learning center, as well as comfort control of all spaces and new corridor lockers; and the replacement of the football field bleachers and press box.

During the initial proposal phase, O’Connor said the intent of the project was not expansion but rather to make better use of existing instructional space within the building.

“The district sought to reconstruct areas of the school to improve security, renovate the auditorium, update some instructional spaces for greater efficiency and replace the press box, bleachers and score board adjacent to the football field,” O’Connor said. “We are hoping that reconstruction will begin as early as next fall.”

The district has said that the project will not have an impact on the local tax levy because $525,000 will be taken out of the district’s general fund balance as the local share, and the project will receive 91-92 cents in state aid for every dollar spent.

“The way this actually works is (the district) would borrow only about 90 percent of the cost of the project because you would be covering some of that with funds on hand. But the state would aid 100 percent of the project,” said Jeffrey Stone, a partner with Hodgson Russ LLP of Buffalo, during a public hearing last month. “So that’s how the money comes back in full and covers you without a local tax impact. In other words, they don’t only aid on the amount borrowed, they aid on the full 100 percent of the project – but you’re covering some out of your savings. So, the net result is no local tax increase in the levy here.”