Plans are moving forward for the much-anticipated $19,985,700 capital project that was approved by voters in May 2022.
Greg Klokiw, managing principal of architectural firm CSArch, presented an update to the Board of Education at its Jan. 18 business meeting. Mr. Klokiw noted that design for all aspects of the capital project began last June. Plans for Phase 1 of the project – which includes a new roof at Abram Lansing as well as elevator refurbishments and new playgrounds at Harmony Hill and Van Schaick – have been submitted to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for approval and the issuance of a building permit. Once approval is granted, construction is expected to begin this summer.
Mr. Klokiw said playground configuration ideas for both Harmony Hill School and Van Schaick Grade School have been developed by designers and reviewed by administrators. As those plans are refined, he said they will get feedback from those who will be most impacted – the students themselves.
“We want to give students a voice in the final project,” Mr. Klokiw said.
Plans for Phase 2 of the project will be submitted to SED in the spring with work expected to begin following approval. Phase 2 work includes renovation to the science classrooms in the middle and high schools; construction of a synthetic turf field at the high school, a new eight-lane track and field lighting; renovation to the cafeterias at Abram Lansing and the middle school; and conversion of unused locker rooms into instructional space at Harmony Hill, among other projects.
Similar to asking for feedback from the elementary students who use the playgrounds, designers also plan to seek student feedback regarding the science classrooms in both schools.
Mr. Klokiw said efforts will be made to time projects to cause the fewest disruptions possible.
How projects were chosen
The project scope was identified through a building conditions survey, in conjunction with community and stakeholder feedback, which the district undergoes every five years. The list of proposed needs was finalized with input from building and district-wide facilities committees, with a focus on health and safety, such as a nurse suite reconfiguration at Abram Lansing Elementary, new fire alarm systems, window replacements and elevator refurbishments.
The scope of the capital project is part of a long-range plan to improve facilities. To finance the proposed project, Cohoes will borrow $17,985,700 through a bond issuance, and fund $2 million from the district’s capital reserve fund, which are funds set aside by a district specifically for capital improvements. 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, meaning it will have no additional tax impact due to the retirement of district debt.
Capital Outlay Project
Work to be funded by a $100,000 capital outlay project approved by voters last May will begin this spring at Abram Lansing Elementary School.
Mr. Klokiw said the project would go out to bid in March, and construction is set to begin in May. Planned work includes the replacement of corridor locksets and improvements to the exterior stairs with a complete American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant rail replacement at Abram Lansing.