Mohonasen officials look to develop new building proposal
ROTTERDAM Mohonasen school officials are exploring the possibility of a new building proposition so the district can receive state aid on 36 acres of land it purchased in 2010 while addressing the need to replace the bus garage and add space for vocational programs.
Talks are preliminary at this stage, but district Superintendent Kathleen Spring said the board is going to meet with its architectural consultants at 5 p.m. Monday before the regular board meeting to discuss what elements of 2010’s failed building proposition could be included in the new plan.
In May 2010, voters approved the purchase of 36 acres adjacent to the school from the O’Hare and Lindenman families at a cost of $1.425 million.
District officials said at the time that 90 percent of the cost would be reimbursed by the state if the land was put to use for a building project.
Right now, the district is getting no state aid on the purchase because it is not tied to a capital project.
Mohonasen officials are looking into how long the district can wait to propose a project, according to district spokeswoman Adrienne Leon.
State Education Department spokeswoman Antonia Valentine said there is no deadline, but the cost of the acquisition is not eligible for aid until an eligible construction project is approved.
Voters in December 2010 defeated a proposed $43 million capital project to build a new bus garage and make improvements at all four schools by a ratio of 2-1.
Board of Education President Dom Cafarelli said the timing for the proposal may have been to blame.
The economy was weak and many Rotterdam residents had two days of voting back to back because there was also a special town referendum the next day on whether to establish an ambulance taxing district for Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services.
Spring blamed complacency as supporters didn’t get out and vote. “I think people just thought it was going to pass,” she said.
Cafarelli said the board will make sure people vote the next time.
Among the school district’s needs is a new bus garage. School officials said previously that such a facility would allow buses to be stored indoors and possibly allow maintenance staff to do more in-house repairs.
One version of the plans included a paint and body shop as part of the proposal.
Mohonasen officials had talked about the possibility of building a joint bus garage with the Duanesburg and Schalmont school districts.
Duanesburg applied for a state grant to study the matter but did not receive any funding.
Spring said Duanesburg is no longer interested in the idea. She wasn’t sure about Schalmont, which will have a new superintendent in January.
“One of the main reasons to look at the transportation facility is to get the aid back on the land,” she said. Other items that were included in the last project were an addition to Draper Middle School to house a fitness center and bigger media center, science and technology classrooms at the high school and renovated cafeterias at the middle school, Pinewood Elementary School and Bradt Primary School.
The technology component is of particular interest to the district because the district earlier this year was informed that it had been selected to receive a $1.8 million state School District Improvement Grant over three years because of its success in improving student academic performance.
Mohonasen officials have talked about expanding its vocational offerings with these funds and adding programs in machining, sports management, medical technology and culinary arts. The district currently offers classes in criminal justice and construction.