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Building project

Project overview
At the start of the 2006-07 school year, Guilderland Central School District was notified by the state that it was eligible to receive $1.78 million in EXCEL aid (a form of state aid). To explore how the district might best utilize these funds, the Board of Education authorized the formation of a committee to examine the needs of the district’s facilities with particular emphasis on the following areas:

Renovations in each of the district’s five elementary schools;

District wide technology improvements;

Safety and security improvements;

Options for future district office space; and

Maximizing the use of $1.78 million dollars in EXCEL aid.

Guided by the district’s architects, the Facilities Committee—made up of administrators, teachers and district staff, Board members, parents, and community volunteers—met throughout spring 2007 to assess conditions within the seven school buildings, touring facilities and talking with staff. Their guiding principles were to ensure that the district can provide safe and well-maintained facilities to support student learning and achievement, to promote responsible stewardship of the district’s investment in its facilities, and to consider the long-range needs of the district.

The Committee presented its final building project proposal to the Board of Education in late summer 2007. At its September 11, 2007 meeting, the Board adopted a resolution to put the proposed plan before district voters in mid-November 2007.

Areas to be addressed under the proposal
The goal of the proposed plan is to protect the community’s investment in its schools by addressing necessary internal and external improvements focusing primarily on the five elementary school buildings. These needs have not been addressed on a comprehensive basis when compared to the high school and middle school which had large scale referendums approved by district residents in 1995 and 2001, respectively.

Many of the items identified by the Facilities Committee as requiring attention at the elementary level are health and safety concerns (traffic patterns, ventilation, asbestos abatement, lighting, etc.) or through their failure have the potential to disrupt the educational process (heating systems and roofs in need of replacement, upgrades to electrical systems, etc.). These needs will not go away.

With the current availability of the state’s EXCEL aid program, now is the time for the district to address these building concerns. The district can be proactive in making necessary renovations before having to make the repairs on an emergency basis—which can often be more costly.

With respect to technology, over the past ten years the district has annually allocated $200,000 to $250,000 for equipment and hardware to support well over 5,000 students and more than 1,000 employees. However, this approach by itself will never enable the district to surge forward or reach the “cutting edge” in the ever-changing world of instructional technology.

As the nanotechnology era continues to unfold in the Capital Region, the technology plan outlined by the Facilities Committee will enable the district to institute much needed improvements well beyond the capacity of its annual budget. We will be focusing on the infrastructure and K-12 instructional priorities which will directly impact students in the following ways:

Students and teachers in all schools will have greater access to computers and computer network services. n The High School technology education classrooms will be renovated and the program restructured so that students can take pre-engineering courses with appropriate computer and technical equipment.

Security systems (additional security cameras, swipe card door access, etc.) will be enhanced at each school.
The technology cabling infrastructure and electrical service will be upgraded in the elementary schools.
The proposed plan lays the foundation to meet our technology needs both now and in the future.

Finally, the third part of the proposed plan calls for relocating the district’s administrative offices to Guilderland High School. In addition to structural concerns, the current office building suffers from poor heating and ventilation systems, inadequate site drainage, an overburdened electrical system, and is at capacity with respect to both workspace and conference areas.

By relocating the offices to the High School, versus making major renovations of the current site, the district will not only be eligible to receive NYS building aid on the project but will also be initiating a much needed long-term solution.

Protecting your investment
Utilizing the district’s $1.78 million EXCEL aid allocation as well as the newly established $750,000 Capital Reserve Fund (approved by voters in May 2007) as a foundation, the Facilities Committee recommended to the Board of Education a project totaling $26,971,500 which has the following components:

Elementary school building renovations

$17,380,900 for renovations to electrical, heating and ventilation, roofing, and communications systems at Altamont, Guilderland, Lynnwood, Pine Bush, and Westmere elementary schools. This facet of the project will address the following:

Telephone/PA replacement

Roof replacement

Lighting improvements

Ventilation systems

Window rehabilitation

Chimney/masonry repairs

Traffic patterns and bus parking

Floor replacement

Asbestos abatement

Drainage improvements

Heating system replacement

Water heater replacement

Fire alarm system replacement

Electrical panel and circuit upgrades


Technology infrastructure and program improvements

$5,710,600 devoted to technology infrastructure and program improvements as well as safety and security upgrades. This facet of the project will address the following:

Upgraded cabling in all seven school buildings

Upgrade and expansion of wiring closets

Additional laptop carts

Interactive whiteboards” at all levels

Computer video projectors in classrooms

Video editing/podcasting equipment

Additional security cameras

Additional swipe card door access systems

Introduction of pre-engineering program at Guilderland High School


Administrative offices

$3,880,000 to relocate the district administrative offices to Guilderland High School and construct new classrooms to accommodate the change in the building configuration. This facet of the project will:

Renovate existing classroom space at the high school to house the relocated district office.

Construct a 10-classroom addition to the building in order to accommodate the district office relocation.

Create additional shared conference room space.

The proposed renovations are expected to be completed by the fall of 2010. 

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