ICC board ponders upgrades to buildings and grounds

KINDERHOOK–On Tuesday, May 1, the Ichabod Crane School Board held a short public hearing on the proposed $40-million budget for the 2018-19 school year. There was only one comment from the public in support of the budget. The annual budget vote and Board of Education election is May 15.

The board then moved on to the regular meeting where they discussed a proposed capital improvement project the district hopes to have ready for voters to approve in December. The district is working with CSArch, an Albany based architecture and engineering firm, to come up with a plan for a two-phase project that would mainly be upgrades to the high school and elementary/middle school buildings.

CSArch’s Ed Anker said at the board meeting that representatives from his company and the board’s Facilities Committee had been reviewing a building condition survey the board had done with the district’s previous engineering firm. Mr. Anker said the report had a lot of “comprehensive information” and there is “roughly $35 million” worth of work suggested in the report. He said he and the committee started to prioritize what needs to get done.

Melissa Renkawitz, an associate at CSArch, reviewed the list of projects that she said were not all exciting things but are upgrades that “need to be made to improve your building.” As for the high school, she talked about work on the roof and the windows, replacement of lockers in one wing and renovations to the science classrooms and labs. She said the current classrooms do “not support 21st century leaning” and that the upgrades would support the current curriculum. She also suggested road pavement improvements, a new synthetic turf on the track and a road from the elementary/middle school building to the primary school to help with the district’s new one-bell busing system that will start in September.

There was talk of creating a better traffic flow at the middle school for pickup and drop-off. At that building, she suggested work on the windows, which are not energy efficient; she described them as “vintage.” She also said the plan calls for some solid walls in the 4th and 5th grade wing, where there are just partition walls now, and replacement of lockers in the locker rooms.

In all school buildings she talked about improvements to security as well as plumbing and electrical work.

Board member Regina Rose said she would like see bulletproof glass at the greeter stations at each school.

“That is pretty much a standard practice,” said Dan Woodside, president of CSArch, who was also at the meeting.

“It’s going to be part of the discussion,” said district Superintendent Michael Vanyo of bulletproof glass.

“We’ll be back and forth with you a few more times before this is all said and done,” CSArch’s Mr. Anker said of the plan.

Both he and district Business Manager Michael Brennan stressed the costs for the project were very preliminary, but they presented numbers of $12 million for the first phase of the project and $13 million for the second.

Mr. Vanyo said that debt payments on previous capital project in the district will be ending before the board goes to voters to ask to borrow money for this project. The board is also asking voters on the May 15 ballot for authorization to open a capital reserve fund. Money put in that fund would be used only for capital improvement projects. Mr. Vanyo also said that the state aid will fund 73% of a capital project. He said the district is looking at ways that this project will have the least impact on taxpayers.

Mr. Anker said that by August they hope to have settled on the scope of the work and then it will be brought before the full board for approval in September. If the board approves moving forward with the plan, there will be a special election in December.

The next regular board meeting will be June 5 at 7 p.m. in the High School Library.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email

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