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Voters to decide on $196.4 million capital project Dec. 15

| November 22, 2016

Capital Project Vote

Click here for project details

  • Dec. 15
  • 9:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
  • Polling location: Goodrich (District Office) 91 Fiddlers Ln. Latham, NY

Pride in North Colonie is something that has existed among the community since the district’s origin in 1950. To this day, more and more families are choosing North Colonie as a place to call home and educate their children.

As a result, North Colonie is experiencing a sharp increase in enrollment, with elementary grade levels reaching max capacity in some buildings. A demographic study completed in February 2016 forecasts an additional 939 students enrolling over the next ten years, mostly populating grades K-6. However, the district’s elementary schools are already starting to run out of space, resulting in an urgent need to accommodate the growth as well as to bring class size down. Right now, some class sizes are at 28-29 students, where ideally the district would like to keep class sizes to 25 students. Smaller class sizes allow more individualized instruction, more opportunities to engage in project-based learning, and better opportunities to meet the social and emotional needs of all students.

In addition, as the district looks to the future, it is important to stay relevant for 21st century learning. For decades North Colonie has maintained its school facilities through transfer to capital fund projects, keeping all buildings well maintained despite being decades old. Physical changes to school buildings will bring the district’s educational program delivery to an even higher standard. The increase in enrollment, coupled with the district’s higher state aid ratio, makes now the right time to embark on this project.

Following a year of planning by the Board of Education, district administrators, faculty and staff, community members, parents, students, and outside experts, the final project scope represents a ten year plan for addition and renovation work throughout the district, with security updates made to all school buildings K-12.

“This project excites me tremendously,” said Superintendent Joseph Corr. “During my 36 years in this district, North Colonie has continually given our students one of the best quality educations in the Capital Region, graduating some of the area’s brightest students. Not only will this project allow us to add the space we need to accommodate our growth in enrollment, it will allow us to enhance our facilities to make our current and future students even more competitive for the 21st century.”

Two phases, one vote

On December 15, voters will decide on a $196.4 million dollar capital project; a positive vote will constitute two phases of work that will be done between 2018 and 2022. The project includes new, enhanced security entrances at every building in the district; new classrooms at Boght Hills Elementary to allow for an additional section for each grade level (reducing class size districtwide); expanded media centers with attached idea labs and innovation centers in the elementary schools; renovation of art, music and Career and Technical Education spaces at the high school; an expansion of the high school auditorium to seat 1,200 people; the addition of synthetic surfaces for Walker Field and Lower Maloy Field, and a full conversion of Shaker Junior High School to Shaker Middle School to reduce class size and accommodate growth in enrollment.

Cost: $196.4 million

  • Elementary Schools  $42.8 million
    • Blue Creek $7.2 million
    • Boght Hills $7.8 million
    • Forts Ferry $8.3 million
    • Latham Ridge $7.9 million
    • Loudonville $3.1 million
    • Southgate $8.5 million
  • Middle School  $63.5 million
  • Shaker High School  $76.2 million  
  • Site Work  $12.4 million
  • Transportation  $1.5 million

Shaker Middle School

As part of its capital project and to ease increasing enrollment at the elementary level, the district plans to move the sixth grade into the junior high school and re-name it Shaker Middle School. Shaker Junior High has consistently been one of the highest achieving junior high schools in the region, with one of its keys to success being the “hall system,” consisting of smaller learning communities. The current junior high is made up of four halls; to accommodate the new sixth graders, Shaker Middle School will have a total of five halls, grades 6-8. Each hall would have approximately 300 students. Construction would begin in 2018, with a targeted completion in 2020.

Enhanced building aid ratio

North Colonie is currently experiencing a higher building aid ratio due to the 2008 Maplewood annexation. For capital projects that are funded by long term debt, building aid is based upon the aidability of the work and the aid ratio the district is assigned. The higher building aid ratio expires June 30, 2018. If building contracts are signed prior, the higher aid ratio is locked in for the life of the bond. This will result in millions of dollars in potential savings for taxpayers. In order to reach the June 30, 2018 goal, December 15, 2016 is the latest the district can hold a community vote. 

10 year plan

As part of the district’s ten year plan, a second referendum will be held in approximately September 2021, separate from the upcoming December 15 vote. Every five years, the district’s maximum cost allowance resets, allowing the district to receive state aid again on all aidable construction. This results in a significant savings to tax payers. Therefore, the cost and specific scope to finish this project in full will begin to be planned in 2020, but could include the following:

  • Additional Shaker High School work
    • Renovation and construction of cafeterias, Media Center and additional CTE space
    • Expansion and renovation of the teacher collaboration area
    • Possible further renovation and expansion of the Shaker Middle School auditorium
    • Goodrich renovation to accommodate Pre-K
    • Full transportation building renovations
    • Remaining middle school/high school athletic fields work and site work
    • Remaining elementary work
      • Learning commons in the K/1 and 2/3 communities

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