In the spring of 2016, a broad-based committee was formed to review the current status of our schools, review the 5-year Building Conditions Survey, and to make suggestions to improve our school buildings and campuses to better meet the needs of today’s learners and improve our overall instructional and extra-curricular programs.
This committee of parents, teachers, administrators and community members met several times to develop a list of recommended items for Board of Education consideration. After a presentation of the recommendations to the Board and an RFP process, an architectural and engineering firm, EI Associates was hired to review recommendations and develop architectural plans and associated costs for these renovations and additions in order to include a bond referendum on the May 16th School Budget Vote. At a presentation to the Board of Education, EI Associates presented the scope of work and estimated costs. Click on the following links for a detailed explanation of the proposed work.
Proposed Plans for Pearl River High School and Athletic Fields
Proposed Plans for Pearl River Middle School
Proposed Plans for Lincoln Ave., Franklin Ave. and Evans Park Elementary Schools
2017 School Budget and Capital Improvements Bond Presentations
|Projected Costs|| |
|HS Building ||$13,160,030|
|HS Athletic Fields|| $7,629,530|
|MS Building || $6,085,440|
|Elementary Schools || $750,000|
|Building Conditions Survey Work ||$4,557,000|
|Total Proposal || $32,182,000|
|Less Money in Capital Reserve || $3,182,000|
|Length of Bond||15 years|
|Estimated State Aid||39%|
Estimated additional annual cost to taxpayer
with home assessed at $200,000
Frequently Asked Questions
4/26/17- Where will high school sporting events take place during the construction?
In the event that the construction impacts our fields for the fall or spring season, the Athletic Department will explore the use of other town and community fields. If these fields are unavailable to us, our contests will be held at our opponents site.
What are the benefits of expanding the middle school gymnasium?
The expansion of the middle school gym will benefit our physical education program and modified athletic teams. The gym expansion will provide additional teaching stations for our large physical education class sizes. Furthermore, it will provide us the opportunity to use this ADA compliant space to host our home modified athletic events.
What is the benefit of updating the locker rooms at the high school? The current high school locker rooms are extremely outdated. The primary focus of this redesign places health and safety at the forefront. The new layout will assist to improve the sightlines for supervision and security purposes. Furthermore, the renovation will allow for an increased number of lockers on both the boys and girls side for the storage of PE belongings.
Of the $7.6 million proposed for the renovations of the athletic fields, how much is solely for the synthetic field? The cost to install the synthetic field is $1.5 million. This cost covers excavation, setting the field and bumper, drainage, laying and marking the field.
How did the district create its list of capital improvement projects? The process began with the completion of a Building Conditions Survey (BCS). NYSED requires school districts to complete a BCS every five years for all schools and district buildings. This is a comprehensive review conducted by an engineering firm and it creates a list of infrastructure items that need attention. After this review, a broad-based stakeholder committee was formed to look at our other academic and extra-curricular needs.
When would the work begin and end? Once approved by the voters, we can send the plans to the NYS Education Department for approval. Approval could take 6-9 months. The work would be completed in phases that would start the summer of 2018 and would continue in a manner that would minimize disruption to the school program during the 2018-19 school year, and continue in the summer of 2019. If required, work would continue into 2020.
Will the proposed bond address all of the District’s capital improvement and maintenance needs? The bond will not address all capital improvement spending. There are other capital improvements that will be taken care of as part of our regular summer work through the general operating budget. An example of this type of work would be concrete and asphalt work at each of the buildings. These deficiencies, though minor, were highlighted in the BCS report.
Why do we need secure vestibules at the elementary schools? School safety is a constant high priority for the PRSD. Secure vestibules improve safety and security by adding a second set of entry doors to the main school entrance and creates a buffer to general classroom access. This second layer of protection allows staff more time to respond in an emergency.
Why do we need to renovate the science classrooms? Science is a rapidly changing field and practices in the teaching and learning of science have evolved over the last twenty years. The renovation of the classrooms brings them in line with 21st Century ideals of classrooms that foster collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creative problem solving.
Why do we need another stairwell at the high school? The addition of a second main stairwell that accesses all floors will greatly improve the movement of students and staff throughout the building. Reducing congestion while keeping the building secure is an important objective.
Why does the high school library need to be updated? 99% of our students continue on to higher education. Libraries in school settings have evolved into “learning commons”, enabling a variety of learning experiences including research, innovation, collaboration and communication. The proposed renovation will allow for these types of experiences and opportunities that they will certainly need and use in college.
Why do we need new music wings? Our music program has grown significantly at the high school and middle school. At the MS, the orchestra uses the auditorium as an instructional space. The band and chorus rooms are flanked by academic classrooms and small group instruction rooms. The creation of a music wing at the middle school will move all of the ensembles in a more appropriate space near the gym. This will also allow for more classroom space as the former music rooms are renovated.
At the high school, we have a similar situation. The number of students in our music ensembles has grown. The current orchestra space is in a small classroom next to math classrooms. The proposal allows for three appropriately sized music ensemble rooms with storage, and has the two math classrooms moved to the math wing.
Why do we need to expand the gym at the middle school? The PRMS gymnasium as a center for physical education is a space that is adequate for two classes. Currently, three classes use the space simultaneously on a daily basis. Due to safety reasons, this impacts the full range of activities that could take place in the gym. In addition, the gymnasium not accessible from inside the building to students or visitors with physical disabilities. The expansion of the gymnasium would create more room for the physical education classes, and will be fully accessible (ADA compliant) from inside the building.
Why are the majority of the projects at the high school? The PRHS is the District’s largest school building and campus and proportionally it has more projects than the other schools. Additionally each of the elementary schools has seen capital work within the last ten years and the District has been able to keep up a good pace of facilities improvements because the scale of projects in smaller schools is more manageable.
What are the benefits of installing an artificial turf field? Synthetic turf fields are advantageous to the interscholastic program because they are ready for use year-round. Currently student-athletes cannot access fields during heavy rains and in the early weeks of the spring season. Teams are forced to travel to turf fields, or practice indoors.
Has PRSD conducted a cost comparison of the artificial turf field vs. a natural grass field? The District has considered this question and the information we have indicates that natural grass fields cost slightly more to maintain.
What are the benefits of issuing a bond? By issuing a bond, which would be repaid over 20 years the district spreads the cost of the work being completed over the useful life of these new assets. Rather than having to charge current taxpayers for the full cost of these projects a bond allows future taxpayers to share in the cost as well as the benefits of these enhancements to our property.
How can you be sure that everything proposed will cost $32,182,000? In NYS, voters must approve the expenditure of capital improvement funds. Through the work of the architectural and engineering firm, we have developed a maximum cost associated with the work. This cost includes inflation and projected estimates for the work. These are called soft costs. The district would not be able to spend more than what the voters approve.
If the bond proposal is approved by voters, how will PRSD minimize the property tax impact on homeowners? The issuance of both Bond Anticipation Notes (BANS) and finally 15 year bonds will ensure cost certainty associated with the bond.
How does a multi-million capital project effect the tax levy? The tax levy would be allowed to increase to accommodate the bond repayments. This increase known as an exclusion, allows for these improvements while not impacting the annual 2% or cost of living adjustments we are all familiar with as part of the annual budget process.
When was the last time we had a major Capital Improvements Bond Proposal? The last major bond was approved by voters in 2004. This bond added classrooms at the HS, Franklin Ave., and Evans Park, and new roofs at all of the schools. The work was completed in 2007. In 2015, the public voted to spend 3 million dollars from the capital reserve fund for some needed work at the high school. There was no cost to taxpayers since the money was already in our Capital Improvement Reserve budget line.
Will the bond be presented to voters in one resolution, or will it be separate resolutions for different buildings or projects? The Capital Improvements Bond Proposal will be listed as one resolution for all of the projects.
Have you considered installing solar panels on the schools’ roofs? Yes, however, the typical age of a PRSD school roof is 10 years old with a life expectancy of 20 years. Installation of solar panels on roofs requires a newer roof system and currently, that makes the idea cost prohibitive.