On Tuesday, October 18, Highland residents will have the opportunity to vote on two Propositions that, if approved, will total $21,620,092.
Proposition 1 is for a $16.9 million capital project that the district states, “was strategically designed to not increase the local tax levy.” The district pointed out that the scope of the project, “focuses on upgrading aging building infrastructure that is either insufficient, failing or reaching end of life.”
Voting will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Highland High School Band Room.
In their discussions of Proposition 1, the administration and school board have calculated a tax-neutral project by employing a, “strategic financial approach that leverages the availability of State Aid, applies funds saved in the voter-approved Capital Reserve Fund [approx. $1.9 million] and replaces existing debt that will soon be paid off. Creating projects that minimize tax increases is a priority of the Board of Education.”
The school district notes that approximately 71.7% of the total aid-able cost of the project will be paid for by New York State. In addition, “the district’s debt payments on existing bonds will decrease in 2024 and payments for the new project would replace those that will soon be paid off, maintaining current levels of debt in the budget.”
Proposition 2 is for $4.6 million that will pay for improvements to the High School Athletic Field and Track. This proposition will cost taxpayers with the Basic Star Exemption about $1 per/month per $100,000 of full- value assessment. Proposition 2 is contingent upon the passage of Proposition 1.
Both propositions are listed on the school’s website at www.highland-k12.org that contains a full list of the proposed work.
A few of the key highlights of Proposition 1 [$16.9 million] at the High School are to:
• Replace end-of-life boilers from 1984 with an energy-efficient model
• Replace missing and damaged flashing along the perimeter of the High School roof to prevent precipitation from seeping into the building envelope
• Replace outdated electrical systems, VAC, plumbing, and finishes in identified office spaces, including the expansion of the undersized and inaccessible food services office and relocated custodial office (includes abatement)
• Remove hazardous materials (abatement) in the boiler room and provide custodial office space
• Replace 11 classroom floors, including abatement
• Rehabilitate walls in 14 classrooms, including abatement
• Replace gymnasium lighting with unbreakable, impact-resistant models and renovate the original, deteriorated 60-year-old roof deck that is stained and peeling exposes broadcasting equipment to temperature extremes
• Extend home-team bleachers to provide additional seating capacity and improve spectator experience. The existing bleachers are undersized and do not accommodate the student body for school events. The new section of bleachers will also function as a foundation for the press box. The project will also install air conditioning and upgrade heating and ventilation in the gym, rehabilitate the modified softball field and improve drainage.
• At the Middle School, Proposition 1 calls for addressing cracked and deteriorated masonry on stair railings and ramps at the courtyard and gymnasium emergency exit (patching cracks will prevent damage that occurs when precipitation seeps into cracks and freezes).
• Replacing rusted, dilapidated perimeter fencing bordering the athletic fields to secure the property
• Installing a generator to maintain buildings’ essential operations such as phones, technology for controlling basic building functions and food service coolers (the MS is the last building to receive a generator)
• Replacing end-of-life heating and ventilation system in library to improve fresh air exchange, heating, and cooling
• Replacing end-of-life boiler from 1984 with an energy-efficient model and replace remaining pneumatic controls with electronic controls.
• Updating leaky, end-of-life plumbing, including waste water piping and domestic water piping. Provide a back-flow control mechanism to meet code requirements and to prevent water siphoning back into the system
• Install a sound system in the Middle School gym (and make upgrades to the gym lighting in all three buildings.)
• In addition, the project will refurbish an antiquated elevator to current standards; mechanicals are more than 60 years old.
• Upgrading the HVAC system in the cafeteria to improve fresh air exchange and add air-conditioning. This space has high occupancy throughout the day and is used for school and community events.
• At the Elementary School the project will renovate 24 classrooms to remove non-functioning, manual closing walls from 1971; provide a sufficient number of electrical outlets to accommodate technology use; replace worn, outdated ceilings, floor tiles, and inefficient lighting (includes abatement).
• Replace antiquated corridor ceiling system from 1971; replacement parts are no longer available
• Replace original, end-of-life boilers from 1996 with energy-efficient models and replace remaining pneumatic controls with electronic controls
• Replace HVAC in upstairs and downstairs cafeterias to improve fresh air exchange, including adding air conditioning functions. These spaces have high occupancy throughout the day and during school and community events.
• Update air handling in the gymnasium to improve heating and fresh air exchange
• Replace gymnasium lighting with unbreakable, impact-resistant models and replace corridor and classroom lighting with energy-efficient fixtures
• Improve building electrical service, vice, which is original to the building (circa 1971), and is undersized to serve the power draw needed in modern spaces; additional outlets will be installed and service capacity increased
• Replace failing, end-of-life storm water roof drains to prevent water infiltration into the building envelope
• At the Bus Garage an antiquated, end-of-life bus lift will be replaced and an additional lift will be installed to expand the capacity for vehicle repairs and NYS Department of Transportation.
Proposition 2 [$4.6 million] will replace the grass field with turf; resurface the track; add a track timing system; install track perimeter drains; replace fencing; add a Steeplechase and Shot Put Pit; add concession and toileting facilities and perform select site work on sidewalks and the parking area.