Included is a new varsity softball and community field
Several building improvements are in store for the Palmyra-Macedon Central School District with the passage of a $27.4 million capital project, approved by voters Tuesday by an almost 3-1 margin.
“The Pal-Mac community continues to affirm that public education is valued as an investment in the future,” said district Superintendent Robert Ike. “When a community has faith in the school district, students, faculty and staff are able to thrive.”
The upgrades — to buildings constructed in the 1920s, 1950s and 1970s — will not raise taxes, as 78 percent will be funded through state building aid and the remaining 22 percent — or $6 million — from fund balance and capital reserve funds approved by voters in 2009 and 2015.
“This project has been designed to meet the changing needs of our students and to protect our community’s investment in our school buildings,” Ike said. “The oldest Pal-Mac school is nearing a century old, and our newest schools are close to 50 years old. The board of education has taken seriously its responsibility to maintain quality school facilities and prepare for their future.”
A lot of the work involves facility upgrades such as refinishing each gym floor at the four schools; classroom reconstructions; window replacements; and upgrades to heating and ventilation systems.
At the nearly 100-year-old primary school, the nurse's office will be reconstructed to create accessibility for students with disabilities, a single-entry point will be created through the main office to provide greater security, and an area will be provided to display student work.
Also included is the purchase of land and an office building at 127 Cuyler Street in Palmyra that formerly housed the Palmyra King's Daughters Free Library. The property acquisition and site work will expand parking at the primary school to provide safer direct pedestrian access to the school from Cuyler Street.
The building, which has been significantly renovated by its current owner and will not be changed, can be used for non-instructional purposes, potentially freeing up space in the school building for academic program needs.
The exterior of the primary and intermediate school buildings will be preserved and sealed, and three sets of main entrance doors and frames at the primary school will be replaced.
The intermediate school library will be renovated and the ventilation system in the cafeteria will be replaced.
The middle school library will also be renovated, along with student locker rooms. The Grounds Department will be moved out of the basement; drainage will be improved on the north lawn, along with a new drainage structure placed near the flagpole; and asphalt in the main driveway and parking on the north side of the building will be reconstructed.
At the high school, work includes resurfacing the pool; renovating instructional spaces, including the chemistry classroom and laboratory, Project Lead the Way engineering classroom and art classroom; providing a welding area in the technology classroom; and replacing fixed stage bars with operable rigging.
A classroom and public reception area will be created for the Performing Arts Center, and offices will be moved to create a theater design and arts classroom spaces.
Building a new theater was considered, but rejected, along with plans for a new artificial turf field, because the Board of Education deemed them unaffordable for district taxpayers and felt the selected upgrades were of a higher priority.
A varsity softball and multi-purpose community field will be created at the Hyde Parkway outdoor site where the track will be resurfaced and have improved drainage.
The recommendations came from multiple committees made up of community members, parents and school representatives who identified the district's needs, prioritized them and made recommendations to the school board, which approved the final scope of work. By law, school districts throughout the state are required to conduct a review of their facilities every five years.
“The Board of Education has been studying the district’s facilities and identifying needs for improvements for the last five years, with input from residents and school staff being a crucial component in the decision-making and long-term planning," Ike said.
A November letter from the school board, led by President Sharon Lang, to Pal-Mac neighbors notes the project is intended to be efficient in terms of space and shared programs, while maximizing state aid for facility improvements without an impact on local taxes.
According to the community flier, work needs to be done now to maintain Pal-Mac's facilities and meet certain code requirements for current learning standards.
2012-2013 school year: Facility Improvement Committee prioritizes needs and makes recommendations to the board of education
2014-2015 school year: Campus Consolidation & Facility Improvement Committee develops and makes recommendations to the board
2015-2016 school year: Board of education continues to investigate single-campus consolidation, deciding in August 2016, not to pursue such
2016-2017 school year: Board of education focuses on need for facility improvements at existing buildings, adopting a project proposition in October 2017.
Dec. 19, 2017: Voters approve the $27.4 million capital project by a vote of 287-106