Capital Project (2018 Referendum)

Q&A from from 7/20/17 Tour & Info Session

What are some of the main priorities in this potential project? And what are some of the enhancements that are under consideration?

The main part of the potential capital improvement project would focus on items related to health, welfare, and safety for anyone who comes to the schools. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Heating system throughout the buildings

  • Air handler replacement and other HVAC work

  • Replacement and renovation of gymnasium locker rooms

  • Bringing bleachers, doors, bathrooms, and other items up to the standards of the American Disability Act (ADA)

  • Masonry repair work

  • Asbestos abatement

  • Replacement of Electrical service and panels

  • Generator for Emergencies

  • Replacement of Fire Alarm system

  • Replacement of PA/Phone/Clock systems

  • New Playground

  • Enlargement of existing gymnasium, new weight room

  • Snack shack and additional toilet rooms

  • Auditorium Renovation

  • Connector between Primary and M/HS buildings

  • New Bus Loop

Other items may be added or subtracted, depending on the final scope of the project.

Why hasn’t there been any maintenance work done in 17 years?

We take great pride in our facilities at Salem Central School District. We have completed regular, annual maintenance work on all systems. However, as with all buildings, roofs, windows, heating systems, etc. come to the end of their useful lives. It is now time to replace some of those items, whose price tags are above what the annual budget can support.  

Salem CSD has not had a capital improvement project since 2000. Realities such as the great recession in 2009 likely prevented the Board and administration at the time from pursuing a capital improvement project prior now.

I understand that there's some debt that will be paid off in a year or two.  Is that the reason for bringing this up now?

The timing is really based on the completion of the Building Condition Survey (BCS). New York State requires school districts to complete Building Condition Surveys every five years. That document highlights the work that needs to be done to protect the community’s investment in the facilities. However, the retiring debt does help our bottom line for taxpayers.

How old is the Building Condition Survey (BCS) and was it free?

The current Building Condition Survey was completed in 2015. Architectural firms charge school districts to complete the BCS, however, New York State reimburses the district for the cost based on the square footage of the school. In many cases, the architectural firm only charges the amount NYS will cover.

Who is the engineering company that has provided the estimates, and has there been a second opinion?

The district sent out Requests for Proposals (RFPs) a couple of years ago in order to hire an architect to perform the Building Condition Survey (BCS). The architectural firm we hired is Mosaic Associates Architects. The estimates for the potential capital improvement project stem from Mosaic’s years of experience conducting capital improvement projects in school districts. If taxpayers approve the capital improvement project, the district will go through a bidding process for each aspect of the project, as required by municipal purchasing laws.  

What are the plans to upgrade the heating system in the Primary School?

The potential capital improvement project would convert the current steam system system to hot water to make it consistent throughout the entire district. This will result in more efficient maintenance in the future.

Are there concerns about asbestos abatement? And do you anticipate needing to abate?

Yes, there are concerns about asbestos abatement. Give the age of our building, much of the piping and heating/ventilation work will likely involve some type of abatement. The potential project would include funds to address any abatement needs. The initial budgeted amount would be based on a percentage of the project. Once the appropriate investigation is complete, we will have a better idea of what the costs might be and adjust the budget accordingly.

What is the purpose of the vertical lines cut into the brick on the side of building?

The vertical lines, most visible at the playground end of the primary building, are to allow for the the building’s different masonry materials to expand and contract with the temperature changes. 

Is the “Out of Order” sign outside the shower area due to lead?

Yes, that is correct. The showers in the boys’ locker room are not available for use due to lead levels found during water testing last year. As you may be aware, on Sept. 6, 2016, Governor Cuomo signed legislation to require all public schools in New York State to test all potable water sources for lead. These sources include drinking fountains and sinks in classrooms, restrooms, kitchens, and outlying buildings.

Water samples were required to be taken by a New York State certified agency according to strict guidelines. Schools were required to test “first draw” samples from each cold water outlet, after the water was motionless for at least eight hours, but no more than 18 hours.

Water sources with lead contaminants above 15 parts per billion (ppb) cannot be used until follow-up test results show the lead level to be less than 15 ppb. If a water source is found to have lead levels higher than 15 ppb, the district must:

  • Take immediate steps to prohibit use

  • Provide students and staff with an adequate alternate supply of water for drinking and cooking

  • Develop and implement a lead remediation plan

The pipes in the boys’ locker room would be addressed in the potential capital improvement project.

Is there inside/outside air exchange present in the large gym?

Yes there is.

Will the lighting be upgraded in the gym?

It is possible that the lighting in the gymnasium will be upgraded; depending on the final scope of the project. Lighting may also be addressed through an Energy Project that is separate from the capital improvement project. The painting of the gymnasium through the project will also improve the light levels in the gymnasium. 

What type of floor would you put down in the gym?

A new wood floor would be used to replace the current wood floor. 

If you redo the gymnasium, would you wait on the floor, bleachers, etc.?

Yes. If the community supports a project to expand the gymnasium, and voters approve that project, the floor replacement, bleacher replacement, locker rooms, and other changes would done in that upgrade/expansion. 

Any thoughts about air conditioning in larger spaces?

Yes, there was some consideration of climate control for parts or all of the building. There is some climate control planned for server rooms, but nothing on a larger scale at this time.

Is the slate roof checked/maintained regularly?

The slate roof is checked regularly and has received repairs. However, the current state of some of the roof calls for more extensive repairs. This work will be completed through District purchase orders.  

What happened to the stained glass windows in some of the doors?

The stained glass windows in some of the doors were in need repair, so they were removed from the doors for safe keeping. The stained glass windows are being kept in storage, and we have plans to repair them at a later date.

What is the cost of floor drain work for the bus garage vs. the cost of soil remediation?

The floor drain work in the bus garage, along with components related to drainage from the bus garage, is estimated at $140,000. The cost of soil remediation is unknown at this point because we need to investigate the presence of any contamination. We have set aside $100,000 in a contingency fund to address any potential soil issues. We have estimated $10,000 to address issues related to the bus garage septic system and investigation of soil contamination.

Is there a septic line present from the Primary School to the bus garage on the architectural drawing?

Yes, part of the potential capital improvement project will be to replace the septic systems and combine the Primary School septic system with the one for the bus garage. The new septic system would move toward the bus garage.

In the meantime, the Town of Salem is conducting a study regarding a town-wide sewer system. If this comes to fruition, the district may not need to complete this septic work because we may be able to tie into the new Town sewer system. There would be a cost for connecting to the Town sewer and that cost will be known once the Town puts the sewer project together.

I understand there could be multiple aspects to this potential project, each with their own cost.  When a vote eventually does happen, would residents vote on one project with everything included, or will they have a menu of projects to vote on?

We anticipate there will be one main capital improvement project for taxpayers to approve. However, there may be smaller projects that taxpayers would have the chance to approve separately, in addition to the main project, on items that would be enhancements to the school. 

Will the smaller, separate projects still be reimbursed by NYS at an 80% aid ratio?

Yes, the current building aid ratio for Salem is 80.1%. 

What are the possible office space changes included in the project, and why are offices being moved?

One of the items under consideration in the potential capital improvement project is the relocation of the nurse’s office, the superintendent’s office, and the principal’s offices 

Relocating the nurse’s office would bring its restroom into compliance with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). It would also allow the nurse more space to help students. This change would be part of the main capital improvement project.

Relocating the offices of the superintendent and principals would allow for an administrative office at each of the “main” entrances of the building for purposes of safety and security. This work would be connected with a potential reconfiguration of the bus loop, so it may be presented to voters as a smaller, separate project.

Other office relocations may occur, but they are not included in the potential capital improvement project because there are no associated costs.

What is the timeframe for the project?

We plan to have conversations with the community about the scope of the project from now through the fall. When the scope is narrowed down, the Board of Education will vote on a resolution to bring the potential capital improvement project to the residents for a public vote.  If the Board of Education approves of the district moving forward with the capital improvement project, we would have a public vote sometime between December and February. If residents approve the project, we anticipate construction starting the following spring (2019) and be complete in 2021.

Will there be multiple informational meetings like this last one, or will it be more through BOE meetings?

We will have more public information meetings throughout the fall. The potential capital improvement project will also be discussed at the Board of Education meetings. We encourage all residents to attend the Board meetings to become informed and involved in the process. 

What happens if the district does not do a capital improvement project?

As infrastructure and systems deteriorate and break down, repairs would be made using funds from the annual budget. The money would either be taken from another area of the budget, or the work would not be done. Emergency repairs can be more costly than work that is planned, and they can also cause disruptions to the school schedule and students’ learning environment.