Niskayuna school board sees fruits of project

Two tours and a public hearing on the district's proposed $70 million budget were on tap at the Niskayuna Board of Education meeting Tuesday, May 6.

The first tour highlighted the high school's $94 million construction project now under way, and the second one focused on three classrooms where students demonstrated the high school's innovative science program.

Bryon Diel, senior project engineer from Sano-Rubin, showed board members around the new two-story classroom wing as well as other additions to the high school. The new classroom wing, when completed in September, will temporarily house other class activities as each section of the school is renovated. The new media center was also viewed, although currently it is only a large vacant area where the concrete flooring was recently poured. Completion of the media center is expected by December.

The large construction crane was still operating during the evening meeting because work was stopped during the day so the noise would not distract students during testing.

Construction continues on the music room addition. When completed, this addition will also be used as temporary space for science classes while the science wing is renovated.

Other parts of the construction project were also discussed. The four new classrooms at Craig Elementary School are nearing completion. Also, the two new classrooms at Glencliff Elementary School are all but ready -- only finishing touches remain. Work at Van Antwerp middle school continues, and the science classroom renovations will be done this summer. The total project will not be completed until 2010.

School Superintendent Kevin Baughman kicked off the public hearing on the proposed budget by stating that the proposed school tax would increase by 3.48 percent.

This proposed budget is the lowest spending increase and estimated tax increase in the last five years, said Baughman. "We are cognizant and respectful of the challenges that everyone is facing given current economic conditions."

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