Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake assesses needs

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake School District will be approaching its five-year plan for updating infrastructure and developing a bond referendum by making the process a two-committee affair.

As the proposal stands now, a critical infrastructure needs committee would meet during the months of October and December to narrow down and develop cost information on the projects the district will pursue. That committee would be expanded to create a "bond referendum committee" that would prioritize the district's needs and report to the Board of Education in June.

The system was discussed at a Tuesday, Sept. 23, meeting of the Board of Education, where Assistant Superintendent for Support Service Jacqueline St. Onge outlined a number of areas where infrastructure improvements are needed.

Though it will be up to the committees and board to make selections, she identified projects like a new boiler for Stevens Elementary, as well as roofing, window replacement and repaving across the district as candidates.

Major renovations could include an expansion to the district's transportation facility at an estimated cost of $6.75 million; adding six classrooms for approximately $3.2 million; and replacing the "aging" district phone system for $650,000.

Onge noted that the figures are just best guesses, especially considering that he cost of materials has, in many cases, been climbing steadily.

The district identified a number of other renovations deemed "critical maintenance" items, such as track resurfacing, septic systems, the replacement of exterior doors, gym floor replacement in Stevens and HVAC systems in all school except Pashley. Many of the improvements address energy-saving methods or health and safety concerns, as those are good ways to ensure grant funds.

Similarly, making improvements to buildings rather than constructing new ones brings greater aid. Seventy-seven to 80 percent of the cost of renovations generally comes back to the district, while for new construction, the figure is much lower.

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