2020 Capital Project
UPDATED JANUARY 7, 2020
Letter from Superintendent Jeramy Clingerman
2020 Capital Project Referendum Vote
Seneca Falls Central School District
Dear Community Members:
On December 19, 2017, the community authorized the district to spend $13,950,000.00 to move forward with a capital project. Some of the major components of this project include: safety upgrades to the Middle School and Mynderse Academy (MA) entrances, changes to parking space and traffic patterns at Elizabeth Cady Stanton School for safety purposes, a complete renovation of science rooms and the gymnasium at MA, and a new transportation facility.
Contractors submitted bids for this project on December 19, 2019. Twenty-eight contractors across all trades submitted bids and their bids were relatively close. Following the bid opening, the district’s architect and construction manager vetted the bids. The construction manager met with the District’s Facilities Committee to share the results. It was at this time that the Facilities Committee fully realized that the bids came in higher than the original estimates used to build the project budget. In addition, bids were much higher than the $13,950,000.00 capital project approved by the voters in December 2017. The Facilities Committee requested additional information regarding the bids, and under the guidance of the construction manager, weighed the options for the district in light of the bids coming in over budget.
Examining the current construction market, it was noted that building prices have increased dramatically. Over the past two years, many of the school projects in our region have come in above initial estimates. The rising costs of materials and lack of available skilled laborers contributed to the sharp increases in construction costs. Our architect firm and construction manager attempted to account for the rising costs in the construction market in their initial calculations, but the sharp increases in the current market proved to be much greater than anticipated in 2017. Other unanticipated factors also contributed to our bids coming in higher than the initial $13,950,000.00 budget. Following the tragedy at Parkland High School in 2018, the District commissioned a professional safety and security audit. The results of that audit highly recommended installing secure controlled entrances at the Middle School and Mynderse Academy. Another post-referendum expenditure added, was a small bathroom within the transportation facility near the tennis courts. This restroom will be accessible, from the outside, for athletes and spectators.
On January 6, 2020, at a special Board of Education meeting, the Facilities Committee updated the entire Board on the higher project bids. After learning more about the bid results and options, the Board employed an unwritten policy they have been following for the past several years regarding capital projects: “Do it once and do it right.” Moving forward, the Board approved a resolution that will allow the community to decide whether to release up to an additional $750,000.00 from the capital building reserve.
The original project budget of $13,950,000.00 carried no additional increase in the local tax levy. If the community approves the new proposition to spend up to an additional $3,950,000, $750,000.00 would be drawn from the capital building reserve, while $3,200,000 would be funded by the State. Thus, if the new proposition is passed, there still will be no additional increase in the local tax levy.
The Board decided to move forward by supporting the project, in its entirety, to meet the vision and goals established in 2017. The proposition passed by the Board on January 6, 2020, established a community vote date on February 25, 2020. The new proposition to be voted upon would allow the District to access an additional $750,000.00 from the capital building reserve for a total amount of $3,079,650.00. The District needs the additional use of reserves to complete the entire project at a cost of $17,900,000.00. It should be noted, that, if the completed project costs less than $17,900,000.00, less reserves would be used.
CAPITAL PROJECT FORUMS PUBLIC HEARING VOTE ON NEW PROPOSITION
January 21, 6:00 PM February 11, 2020, 6:00 PM FEBRUARY 25, 2020, 2:00-8:00 PM
January 27, 6:00 PM Middle School Library MYNDERSE ACADEMY LOBBY
Middle School Library
Cara Lajewski, Board President
Michael Mirras, Facilities Committee Chairman
Jeramy Clingerman, Superintendent
WHERE AND HOW DO I VOTE?
All Seneca Falls Central School District voters must be U.S. Citizens, at least 18 years of age, and a resident for the past 30 days. Voting on the Capital Project Referendum will take place from 2:00 to 8:00 PM on February 25, 2020, in the front lobby of Mynderse Academy (105 Troy Street). A public hearing regarding the proposed proposition will be held on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, at 6:00 PM in the Seneca Falls Middle School Library.
Applications for absentee ballots may be applied for at the office of the District Clerk, 98 Clinton Street, Seneca Falls, New York 13148. If the absentee ballot is to be mailed to the voter, the application must be received by the District Clerk at least seven (7) days before the date of the vote, or the day before such vote, if the ballot is to be picked up personally by the voter. Absentee ballots must be received in the office of the District Clerk no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 25, 2020.