On March 23, the Cohoes Board of Education approved a proposed $19,985,700 capital project that includes improvements and upgrades to district facilities and carries a tax-neutral impact. The proposal will go before voters on Tuesday, May 17, during the annual school budget vote and Board of Education election.
Superintendent of Schools Peggy O’Shea said projects included in the proposal were identified through a building conditions survey, which the district undergoes every five years. The list of proposed projects was finalized with input from building and district-wide facilities committees.
“The proposed capital project will provide needed improvements and enhancements to existing building and classroom spaces as well as upgrades to outdoor athletic facilities,” said Ms. O’Shea. “The project is also timed so borrowing aligns with expiring debt, meaning that property taxes will not increase as a result of the proposed work.”
New York schools generally fund capital projects with a combination of state aid and local funds, including capital reserves (which are funds set aside by a district specifically for capital improvements).
To finance the proposed capital project, Cohoes would borrow $17,985,700 through a bond issuance, and fund $2 million from the district’s capital reserve fund. The district expects that state building aid will cover approximately 91.3% of the total project’s approved costs. The remaining balance of the project (local share) will be tax-neutral due to the retirement of district debt.
Projects to be addressed in the plan include:
- Renovation of high school and middle school science labs.
- Playground equipment replacement and resurfacing at Harmony Hill and Van Schaick. (Abram Lansing equipment was installed in 2010 and is still rated in good condition.)
- Athletic improvements at Cohoes High School include the construction of a synthetic turf varsity field, with a new eight-lane track and field lighting. JV field improvements will include drainage, back stops and fencing.
- Reconfiguration of the cafeterias at Abram Lansing and Cohoes Middle School to add needed space.
- Conversion of locker rooms to instructional spaces and storage at Harmony Hill.
- Nurse suite reconfiguration and expansion at Abram Lansing.
- Mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems improvements and replacements at various buildings.
- Select roof replacements at Abram Lansing, Middle School and High School.
- Select window replacements at Abram Lansing, Harmony Hill and Cohoes Middle School.
- Pavement reconstruction at Harmony Hill and Cohoes High School.
- Refurbishing of select elevators at all school buildings.
- Update fire alarm systems at all school buildings.
If approved by voters, the district would submit plans to the New York State Education Department for approval, with the timeline of work completion to be determined.
The scope of the capital project is part of a long-range plan to improve facilities. Additional projects proposed through alternative funding sources include: replacing lighting in the High School auditorium, replacing corridor lock sets/re-key throughout all five buildings, as well as replacing all public address (PA) systems.
The annual school budget vote and Board of Education election will be held from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, at the district’s three polling locations: Abram Lansing Elementary, Harmony Hill School and Van Schaick Grade School.
Residents will also elect three members to the Board of Education. Petitions for those interested in running are available from the district clerk and must be returned by 5 p.m. on April 27.
Check back on our district website as additional information will be shared with the community in the coming weeks.