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Albion will vote on $14M capital project, school budget

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 May 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – The 9-inch-wide lockers in the high school, which are about 40 years old, will be replaced with ones that are a foot wide as part of a capital project at the three school buildings as well as the bus garage. The high school would go from 1,200 lockers to 800 because of the wider lockers.

ALBION – The school district is proposing a $14.3 million capitol project on Tuesday that will address numerous maintenance issues and infrastructure upgrades.

The project includes work in the elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as the bus garage and athletic facilities.

The $14,370,548 project for building reconstruction, energy and safety improvements will be 91 percent covered by state funds. The district has its 9 percent share, $1,286,000, already in a local reserve fund, school officials said.

The capital project was discussed during a public hearing on the budget Tuesday at the LGI Room at the high school. Kirk Narburgh, a partner at King & King Architects in Syracuse, detailed the scope of the work. Narburgh is an Albion graduate.

The project would replace half of the roofs, upgrade parking lots, improve drainage on athletic fields, resurface the track, and add some exterior lighting and utilize more LED lights.

The District Office, currently housed in what was intended to be a temporary metal building in the 1964, would be demolished and those offices would shift to existing space at the middle school.

“The district office has exceeded its useful life,” Narburgh said at the hearing.

Kirk Narburgh outlines the proposed capital project at Albion Central School.

The capital project would also include stronger doors at school entrances and card access controls.

“We’re going to solidify the entrances more,” Narburgh said.

The fire alarm would be replaced with a new system at the elementary school, which would also see a relocated flag pole to the front of the building, HVAC upgrades, additional exterior lighting, and a new playground on west side.

The elementary school would also receive a shading system on the south side to reduce solar heat gain in the warmer months.

The work at the elementary school adds up to $5,249,261.

The capital project also will replace some single-pane windows in the middle school with more energy-efficient windows, upgrade the sound booth, improve the boiler and heating system, add exterior lights to northeast side of the school, widen the sidewalk by bus loading zone and replace decaying steel hand railing with aluminum ones.

The middle school work would cost an estimated $5,730,265.

At the high school, the 1,200 high school lockers that are less than 9 inches wide would be replaced with 800 lockers that are a foot wide. The bigger lockers would allow students to better store their thick backpacks and winter coats.

The high school library would also be repurposed with new technology to meet the needs of the 21st Century.

The high school track would also be resurfaced and better drainage would be added to the football field.

The high school improvements would cost an estimated $2,851,885.

The capital project would also include work on the bus garage, adding an emergency generator, and new doors and lighting at an estimated $539,137.

Voting for the project, budget and other propositions will be Tuesday from noon to 8 p.m. in the elementary school’s Conference Room A near the community entrance in the back of the school.

Shawn Liddle, the district’s assistant superintedent for business, discusses factors in the budget that will reduce taxes.

Residents will also vote on a proposed $33,240,940 budget reduces spending by $310,111 or 0.92 percent. The tax levy would drop by 1 percent to $8,355,939.
This is the eighth budget in the past nine years where the district has either kept the tax levy the same or cut it.

Shawn Liddle, the district’s assistant superintendent of business, said the district runs a cost-effective operation while maintaining many programs and opportunities for students.

Albion has a per pupil cost of $17,705, which compares to the state average of $23,218, and an Orleans County average of $20,213, Liddle said.

Albion will see payments to the retirement system drop by $398,000 in 2015-16. The district also expects to save about $145,000 with staff retirements. The district will maintain staffing and all of its programs in the new budget, but retirees will be replaced by less experienced staff with smaller paychecks.

The district also budgeted a $133,000 decrease in tuition through the Orleans-Niagara BOCES and $72,000 less in debt service payments.

Rising salaries for district staff is the biggest increase in the budget at an additional $478,000.
The budget vote on May 19 also includes propositions to spend $460,000 for buses and $680,411 to be collected for Hoag Library.

Two candidates are unopposed for five-year terms on the Board of Education, including incumbent Marie Snyder and Chantelle Sacco. Snyder works as a welfare fraud investigator and Sacco is an engineer. Incumbent John King decided not to seek re-election to the volunteer position.