Bemus Point Capital Project Vote Set For Thursday

ELLERY – Community residents in the Bemus Point Central School district will have much to consider when they cast their ballots Thursday.

Since September, district officials and representatives of the district’s architectural firm, Clark Patterson Lee, have hosted several public hearings on a two-phase, $16.4 million capital project proposal that will address needs in each of the district’s three buildings.

PHASE ONE

The first part of the project, referred to as “Proposition One,” is estimated to cost $8.4 million, and will address maintenance and needed upgrades at Maple Grove Jr.-Sr. High School, Bemus Point Elementary and the bus garage. Proposition One would address these needs within three categories at each building: health and safety, maintenance, and renovations.

At the junior-senior high school, the health and safety items are expected to cost $1,375,375, maintenance will cost $1,557,300 and renovations will cost $1,212,900.

Health and safety items will address: the replacement of classroom door locks; upgrading existing and installing new security cameras; upgrading the two-way radio system to tie all district buildings; installing additional swipes to the school’s lockdown access system; asbestos abatement; kitchen floor replacement; replacing floor tiles in the auditorium, as well as upgrading the lighting system and painting; replacement of the shop floor and upgrading its equipment; installing a dust-collection system in the tech wing; and renovation of the office area for a security entrance and updates to the nurse’s office.

Maintenance items will address: the addition of digital controls for ventilators; refinishing the gym floor; replacement of the clock and PA system; replacement of the phone system; recoating the track; locker replacement; electrical upgrades to panels and outlets; and the addition of exterior building panels.

Renovation items will address: the construction of ADA-compliant restrooms in the lobby; the replacement of chalkboards with white marker boards; replacement of the auditorium’s sound system and stage lighting; Room 214 and the library media center renovations; art room renovations; and renovations to five existing science classrooms.

At the elementary school, the health and safety items are expected to cost $404,300, maintenance will cost $1,517,425 and there are no planned renovations.

Health and safety items will address: replacing classroom door locks to allow locking from within the classroom, rather than from the hallway; upgrading existing and installing new security cameras; upgrading the two-way radio system to tie all district buildings; installing additional swipes to the school’s lockdown access system; asbestos abatement; upgrading and replacing the fire alarm system; and the construction of a new water well.

Maintenance items will address: roof replacement over the art/music and K-2 wing; K-2 emergency window replacement; electrical upgrades to panels and outlets; the addition of digital controls for ventilators; and a new phone system.

At the bus garage, health and safety items are expected to cost $1,846,650, and maintenance will cost $483,340. There are no planned renovations.

Health and safety items will address: upgrading the two-way radio system to tie in all district buildings; upgrading the bus radio system to tie into the elementary school and junior-senior high school system; installing a lockdown access system; installation of additional security cameras; asbestos abatement; installation of water well lines; and the demolition and reconstruction of the 1939 portion of the building.

Maintenance items will address: roof replacement; upgrades to the ventilation and heating systems; connecting overhead doors to the generator; electrical upgrades; modifying existing bus storage to accommodate new bus sizes; installing a new phone system; and parking lot repairs.

THE FIGURES

During a previous public hearing on the project, Michael Mansfield, superintendent, said Proposition One will have no impact on the local tax levy. He said 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. “So that’s a timing issue and, at this point, this is a good time to do that.”

This was substantiated by Charity Mucha, business manager, during a public hearing earlier this week. In her financial presentation, Mucha said the district’s total net debt service amount will decrease by $227,517 as a result of having paid off the remaining debt from the aforementioned prior capital project. This would result in a -1.55 percent cap in the tax levy for the 2014-15 school year if the district were not to pass the new project and keep the debt service at a more stable level.

If that were to happen, Mansfield said the district would be in dire straits on multiple fronts.

“Without fixing anything, our cap would also be negative,” Mansfield said. “So we’d have to hope that our (2014-15) budget failed so we could ask for more money in a contingency budget. So we’re just trying to level things out, fix the major things and set ourselves up to be viable for the next 15 to 20 years.”

Mucha’s report also indicated that if Proposition One were to pass and Proposition Two were to fail, the district’s tax levy cap for next year would be 1.31 percent. The cap would be 1.33 percent if both propositions are passed.

PHASE TWO

The second part of the project – Proposition Two – will only involve the junior-senior high school and elementary school buildings, and is contingent upon approval of Proposition One. It is estimated to cost $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, or 42 cents per $1,000 assessed value.

At the junior-senior high school, the health and safety items are expected to cost $127,400, maintenance will cost $1,134,250 and renovations will cost $6,009,250.

Health and safety items will address upgrades to the entire lockdown access system, and the construction of a pathway from the building to its athletic fields with a handicap viewing platform.

Maintenance items will address: replacing the pole barn roof; soccer field drainage; the removal and repair of arches and sidewalks; and parking lot construction and redesign.

Renovation items will address: construction of a new STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – wing; construction of a new multi-purpose facility and fitness center; construction of ADA-compliant restrooms throughout the rest of the building; a full music suite renovation; home and careers classroom renovations; miscellaneous classroom renovations; and construction of a language lab.

At the elementary school, the health and safety items are expected to cost $41,600, maintenance will cost $581,750 and renovations will cost $195,000.

Health and safety items will address upgrades to the entire lockdown access system, and relocation of the front entryway’s access system.

Maintenance items will address: replacement of all K-2 windows; parking lot reconstruction; clock replacement; replacement of exterior doors; the school’s main generator; sidewalk repair and construction of new sidewalks; replacement and repair of classroom sinks and toilets; repairing the gym scoreboard; and exterior drainage.

Renovation items will address the construction of ADA-compliant restrooms, and renovations to the kitchen’s walk-in freezer.

THE VOTE

In determining what items should be placed in Proposition One versus Proposition Two, according to the district’s website, the building project committee looked at high cost maintenance items that must be done, and other items to accommodate all of the district’s programs and services.

The next information sessions will be held at 6 p.m. Monday in the junior-senior high school cafeteria during the district’s Board of Education meeting, and at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the elementary school. The vote will be held Thursday from 12-8:30 p.m. in the Bemus Point Elementary library.

For information regarding the proposed project, visit the district website at www.bemusptcsd.org and click the “Capital Project” tab.