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Potsdam Central drafts $18m capital plan

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POTSDAM — The Potsdam Central School Board of Education has trimmed the scope of a proposed building and renovation project to $18 million, a price tag that would not cost taxpayers more than they already are paying.

“We’ve got it down to a level that will not affect taxpayers,” said Wade A. Davis, who chairs the board’s Buildings, Grounds and Transportation Committee.

Board members, after reviewing a 125-item wish list of potential projects that would have run $32.5 million, are expected to approve the scope on Oct. 23 so that the project can be put to a public referendum in December.

“There were several items from the building condition survey that are included,” Mr. Davis said, adding that work will be done at the bus garage and each school.

The project includes a districtwide fire alarm system upgrade at a cost of $275,000.

The bus garage is scheduled for an $836,000 upgrade, including $263,700 in roof work, $279,600 for pavement improvements and $208,600 to replace and relocate the fuel tank.

At Lawrence Avenue Elementary School, the district is planning to spend $2,585,750, including $451,000 to replace the building’s lighting fixtures and $1,591,300 in roof work.

Work scheduled for A.A. Kingston Middle School totals $2,463,300, including $549,200 to replace the building’s lighting fixtures, $438,800 to upgrade the building’s electricity distribution system and $206,800 in roof work.

But the bulk of the project will be at the high school, which is slated to receive $8,841,990 in work, including $669,900 to replace lighting fixtures, $1,760,840 in exterior work to the building, including new windows and siding, $3,860,800 to upgrade the heating system and $1,302,700 in roof work.

“We focused on energy efficiency,” Mr. Davis said, adding that once the project is complete, the district can expect lower heating and electric bills.

The project will be paid for with $885,000 in capital reserves and financial aid from the state at a rate of 86.1 percent. The project, which will be financed over 15 years, includes a local share of $2,804,086 which will be offset by the capital reserve and $173,643 in debt payments from previous projects that will come off books before the 2014-15 school year, when the district would make its first payments on this project, Mr. Brady said.

“With the old debt coming off and the new debt coming on, you will still see a slight decrease,” he said.

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