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Capital project vote likely in January, updated plans shared with Board

Oct. 16, 2015
 
District residents view updated site plans for proposed capital project on Oct. 13. Voters in the Queensbury Union Free School District will have to wait until at least January to decide on a possible $40 million capital project proposal (PDF) that reimagines the interior of Queensbury High School
 
The 52-year-old high school would undergo a major transformation, including: 
  • Classroom renovations to create three interdisciplinary instructional communities in the humanities, STEM and the fine and performing arts. 
  • The relocation of the media center and the large-group instruction room to the front of the building, which would: 
    • Allow for the creation of collaborative spaces in the interdisciplinary instructional communities; 
    • Increase the ease of access for students, parents and community members; and
    • Allow for a consolidation of physical education locker rooms. 
  • An addition at the back of the building to accommodate the relocation of the wood gym, which would allow for the centralization of support services such as the High School Counseling Center, psychological and social services, and the nurse’s office in the main school corridor.
  • Enhanced security measures throughout the building. 
  • Renovated seats in the auditorium to comply with federal standards.
“The updates are critical and necessary. There are energy and structural considerations with the building itself, which was constructed in the early 1960s,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Douglas W. Huntley. “In addition, we are looking to reimagine our whole high school. The design of the building currently is a lot of cut up spaces. It was made in order to educate students quickly by department, but today’s 21st-century learning standards are not consistent with that at all. We need flexible space. We need interdisciplinary opportunities for students to learn, not the industrial model that we have now.”
 
District leaders and project architects originally thought the community vote would take place in December 2015. That date has been pushed back, though, as the district awaits updated “maximum cost allowance” calculations from the state. Those calculations determine how much state building aid the project can receive.
 
"The goal is for this project to have no additional impact on local taxes," said Assistant Superintendent for Business John DeSanto. 
 
While the final design concept and overall cost of the capital initiative are still in development, project architects are estimating the project would likely cost $45 million, which includes $36 million for classroom, auditorium and media center renovations, $7.5 million for the gymnasium addition and $1.5 million for the site work. 
 
“These numbers are preliminary, and they’ll change as we go,” said project architect Greg Klokiw from CSArch.
 
Updated concept designs for Queensbury High School’s renovation project were unveiled to the Queensbury Board of Education during its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13. 
 
Representatives from the CSArch architectural firm presented two preliminary site plans, which featured several updates from the ones shown to the board during its August meeting, including the addition of more classrooms and laboratory space. Following the meeting Oct. 13, The board unanimously agreed to explore more design options to allow for additional parking and student drop-off/pick-up space. The updated concept designs can be viewed here (PDF).
 
On Nov. 23, the Board of Education is expected to vote on whether to hold a public referendum on Jan. 12 for a capital project to finance those renovations. 
 
Visit the district legacy planning Web page for more information on the legacy planning process in Queensbury. Capital project updates will be posted on the district website as they become available.