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Board Adopts $39.7 Million Capital Project Resolution, Vote on Jan. 12
Nov. 24, 2015
The Queensbury Board of Education is proposing a tax neutral $39.7 million capital project that calls for major renovations at Queensbury High School. Those renovations would allow the high school to implement an educational program envisioned by the community during a two-year legacy planning process. Voters will head to the polls to decide on the proposal on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, from 10 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. in the Queensbury Elementary School Gymnasium, 431 Aviation Rd.
The 2016 capital project would transform the rigid, mid-century design of the high school from one of restrictive, subject-area silos into one with:
- Three interdisciplinary instructional communities:
- Humanities - English language arts, social studies, foreign language (pictured below on first floor map in purple)
- STEM - science, technology, engineering, math (green)
- Fine and performing arts (teal)
- Extended learning areas that are more flexible than the traditional classroom and that provide more opportunities for collaboration, socialization and enrichment (example pictured above).
- Centralized support services (e.g., HS Counseling Center, psychological/social services, nurse’s office) in the main school corridor (brown), which will increase accessibility for students and parents, and provide additional space to meet a growing demand. For that to happen, the old wood gym must be relocated from the center of the school to the back of the school (light blue).
- More flexible and accessible community spaces:
- Relocate the media center/library (light purple) and large-group instruction room (light teal) to the main corridor and the front of the building .
- Open up the cafeteria to the Blue Gym lobby (light green).
- Renovate aging seats in the auditorium (teal).
- Enhanced school safety:
- Centralize community-use areas (e.g., for sporting events, concerts, plays, meetings) within the main school corridor to help prevent unauthorized access to classroom areas in the instructional communities.
- Provide a more secure school entrance and more clear sight lines in student areas for improved oversight.
- Greater energy efficiency by replacing original, energy inefficient windows and walls.
Supporting the Community’s Vision for Education
The concept design for the capital project (PDF) was informed by an educational specifications report for Queensbury High School, which came out of a two-year, multi-step legacy planning process. That process included community education summits in 2013 and 2015 with parents, students, community and industry leaders, school board members, students, administrators, district employees, retirees, and non-parent residents. The district also organized discussions among small focus groups of alumni, students, administrators, faculty and support staff; created legacy planning teams at each school building; and conducted online surveys.
“The whole focus of the project, throughout the development process, was the idea of flexibility in our learning spaces. This would transform the old factory model of education into one that gives teachers more options for how they teach and students more options for how they learn,” said Deputy Superintendent Theresa Middleton.
A Tax Neutral Capital Project
If voters authorize the proposed $39,735,000 investment in the high school, the capital project will have no additional local tax impact. State building aid would cover $26,550,000 of the cost and return to the local community some of the taxes it pays to the state. The remaining balance of $13,185,000 is the local share of the cost, but the project would be tax neutral due to the retirement of district debt.
“Since August, when architects presented the first concept design, we’ve reorganized some of the space and reduced the amount of new construction. That helped us generate enough state aid to keep the project tax neutral, which was always a goal of the Board of Education,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Douglas W. Huntley.
If the capital project is approved by voters in January 2016, construction is expected to begin in spring 2018 and end by fall 2019. Students who are currently in grades 5-8 would be among the first to experience the renovated high school in the 2019-20 school year.
Community members can learn more about the 2016 capital project proposal during a presentation on Monday, Dec. 14, at 6:30 p.m. in the Queensbury Elementary School Cafeteria, 431 Aviation Rd. Click here to RSVP or to submit any questions about the project in advance of the presentation.
The first floor plan for Queensbury High School in the 2016 capital project proposal.