BAINBRIDGE — The Bainbridge-Guilford Central School District (BGCSD) will be holding a district-wide vote on their proposed capital project on Wednesday, December 7 from noon to 9 p.m. at the Greenlawn Elementary School in Bainbridge and the Guilford Elementary School in Guilford.
The project would provide much-needed updates to all three schools and the bus garage in Bainbridge, and come at no additional cost to taxpayers.
"Each district in New York State has to have a building condition survey completed every five years, and that survey lets the district know what their priorities will be for renovations and projects in the future," explained BGCSD Superintendent Tim Ryan.
The capital project comes with a price tag of $15.4 million, but Ryan said the entire cost is covered by a reserve fund, state aid, and small annual tax increases established in 2017.
"When we did a building project in 2017, the voters learned at that point that there would be a slight increase [in taxes] each year for 15 years to cover that project. So that continues, because we’re only in year five of the 15. So with that piece, and the four million [dollars] from the reserve, and the state aid that we get back, it’s covered. So there’s no additional tax impact to the voters," he said.
The proposed project would bring in sweeping improvements to all three schools. At Guilford Elementary, updates would include an underground fuel tank replacement, drainage site improvements, main office floor replacement, pre-k ceiling replacement and asbestos removal, kitchen renovations and upgrades to meet department of health compliance, and the replacement of failing interior water lines.
At Greenlawn Elementary, upgrades will include underground fuel tank replacement; sidewalk and pavement replacement at the front and main parking lots, drop off area, and bus loops; corridor locker replacement; main office and faculty room improvements; HVAC replacement; and tennis court reconstruction.
At the junior and senior high school, upgrades include exterior door and hardware improvements, including added security features; kitchen renovations and upgrades to meet department of health compliance; auditorium lighting upgrades; the replacement of select air handling units; repaving the soccer field parking lot; and soccer field drainage improvements.
Junior and senior high school upgrades will also include major upgrades to the athletic facility. The space could see new artificial turf, track resurfacing and drain replacement, reconstruction of field events with an additional steeple chase pit, fencing improvements, and a parking lot with 102 spaces.
"Where the football field is currently, that’s all natural grass. But we’ve had problems with grubs, so we’ve had to apply pesticides, and there's no parking down there by the field. So in this project, we’ll put in the artificial turf. Soccer uses that, football uses that, track and field uses that, and elementary PE," said Ryan. "I think that the voters really need to understand it’s not just a football field. It’s going to be a multi-sport athletic complex."
Ryan said although people may have preconceived notions about artificial turf being expensive or not worth it, improvements to the surface over the last ten years have created a cost-effective alternative to natural grass.
"Over the lifetime of the turf a school will save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, because you're not irrigating. You’re not applying pesticides to get rid of grubs and insects. You’re not painting the field all the time, because the turf field would have the paint on it. You’re not mowing, so the mower’s not emitting gasses," Ryan explained. "You can use it year round as long as it’s not covered in snow. So the kids could still be out there in November now because it's beautiful. There’s no mud. You get on the field earlier in the spring."
The turf also features a padded layer to make it softer, and Ryan said things like soccer balls will travel faster across the field, increasing the level of skill of B-G athletes.
Voters who would like to learn more about the capital project are invited to attend information sessions hosted by Ryan. An in-person meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, November 14 in the District Conference Room. A virtual meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 5, and a link will be provided on the district Facebook page.
Ryan stressed that the upgrades proposed in the capital project are very much needed, and will improve student and staff experience at the school.
"In 2017 when we proposed the capital project to the community, I said to them over and over again, the district hasn’t done a project in 17 years, and at that time we communicated you wouldn’t let your house go 17 years without any sort of renovation or improvement," said Ryan. "So we did a lot in ‘17 but we didn’t do everything that was identified as needing to be addressed, whether a safety issue or it had outlived its useful life. So we’re still in that phase here at Bainbridge-Guilford of improving the facilities because there weren’t a lot of projects in the past."
Should voters approve the project, Ryan expects the work to officially begin in the spring of 2024, after sending the capital project plan to New York State for final approval and putting individual projects out to bid. Although the list of projects is long, he anticipates a completion date in the fall of 2026.