BALLSTON SPA: Board plans for growth

The Ballston Spa school board held an organizational meeting on Wednesday, July 11, prior to a regularly scheduled business meeting. The board quickly dispensed with the matters at hand, which included re-electing Kathy Jarvis and Keith Stewart to their positions of president and vice-president, respectively.

As part of the regularly scheduled meeting, the board listened as representatives from Collins and Scoville Architects presented their estimated timeline or evaluation of the district's existing buildings and designing new buildings or expansion projects. This will assist the district in addressing growth issues and a newly approved grade configuration. Now that a configuration has been chosen, the architects will begin to examine whether the existing facilities support that vision.

In addition to having determined the new configuration to be kindergarten through fifth grade; sixth through eighth grade; and ninth through 12th grade, the board has also stated a desire to look long range at the needs facing the district. Included in this plan is the proposed state requirement mandating full-day kindergarten. Superintendent Ray Colucciello has said at least nine additional classrooms will be needed to accommodate that requirement. Additionally, the board agreed to stop using the Malta Venue building for academic purposes.

We anticipate this district growing, said Jarvis. The board has stated its desire to purchase property within the district for future use. "The land may not make it into the next five- or 10-year plan."

Board members have noted that previous boards were forward-thinking in purchasing land that was used many years later to build the high school. They hope to accomplish something similar in obtaining land that will assist the district in its growth not only in the next several years but in the next several decades as well.

"Our main focus this summer is studying the Milton Terrace-Wood Road site and whether that can support another school or expansions," said Dan Langer of Collins and Scoville. Of greatest concern at this point is whether there is enough space to create two means of access into and out of the campus. There are other concerns related to the existing wetlands on the property as well as the capacities for water, sewer, and power at the site.

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