$24M facilities upgrade proposed for BSCSD

BALLSTON — The Ballston Spa Central School District Board of Education is reviewing a $23.98 million district-wide upgrade of facilities expected to take place over the course of two to four years, if approved.

Bill McMordie, principal of Saratoga Project Management,  presented  a facilities planning overview to the school board Wednesday. The upgrades will affect Malta Avenue Elementary School, Ballston Spa Middle School, Ballston Spa High School and the athletic fields of the middle and high school.

Malta Avenue’s makeover will cover classroom, science room, technology shop, art room and bathroom renovations. Lockers and walls will also be replaced in some places, as will windows. The gymnasium will also see a ventilation upgrade.

“They do a great job in these classrooms with what they have, but with changes in technology, we’re going to need to update and renovate,” said McMordie.

High school upgrades will impact the auditorium, addressing light issues, replacing draperies and modifying some systems.

The athletic fields used by the middle and high school will see upgrades phased in over several years in a way that doesn’t bar use of every field simultaneously. The upper athletic field will be used to create a new baseball lot with the outfield converted to a soccer and multi-use field. Parking will also be expanded in the adjacent gravel lot to accommodate roughly 45 cars from the current 15.

Both remaining fields, located in the front of the school and which see more use, will see basic maintenance.

Within the high school are cogeneration plants which will be updated to allow the school to produce its own electricity instead of purchasing electricity from the national grid. Heat produced by the plant will be re-purposed to heat the school’s water, serving a two-fold benefit.

“The cogeneration plant provides power and heat to both the high school and middle school,” McMordie explained. “We’re going to be going from 12 units to seven. The technology has increased over the course of the past 18 to 20 years that we can reduce the number of units. They’re increasing in size but the efficiency is so much more that we’re going to be producing more electricity than we normally do.”

READ BSCSD sets tax rates, residents to see rate reduction

According to Saratoga Project Management’s projections, utilizing a combination of Traditional Building Aid and Capital Reserve Funds of approximately $6.3 million, the net tax impact on the average home assessed at $235,000 is estimated to be about $11.60 per year, starting in 2021.

A public information campaign is planned for August through October leading up to a referendum on the proposal anticipated for Oct. 16, 2018.

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Tomas Gomez is a freelance contributor at The Ballston Journal, a UAlbany alumni, & is allergic to fun thanks to a lifetime interest in sociology & political science.

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