November 15—Residents of the Morris Central School District will vote on a $14.5 million capital project on Tuesday, December 13.
There will be two forums on the capital project where residents can ask questions and get more information. The first forum will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 16 at the district school bus garage.
“The bus garage is beyond repair,” Morris Superintendent Jamie Maistros said. She said the district had engineers examine the existing garage to see if it could be repaired, but the repair costs were higher than the replacement. “It was more conservative of us to replace rather than repair,” she said.
She said that by holding the forum at the bus garage, it will allow the district to show ratepayers just how “disarrayed” the building is. She said the new building will house two elevators and a washing bay, and buses will continue to be housed outside.
The new bus garage is expected to be built on the current softball field and the softball field will be relocated, according to a construction project brochure.
The new facility will also “prepare the infrastructure to meet future electric fleet mandates,” the brochure says. Governor Kathy Hochul announced in her State of the State Address in January that she has set a goal of having all new school buses purchase zero-emission vehicles by 2027, all school buses being zero emissions by 2035.
Maistros said residents have rejected the construction of a new bus garage twice in the past 20 years. “They objected to the extravagance of the building,” she said. “They called it the Taj Mahal of bus garages.”
The investment project also includes replacing the roofs of the main building, repaving the parking lot and installing energy-efficient LED lights and replacing the floors if necessary in the classrooms, to ensure the longevity of the building, says the brochure.
Maistros said the capital project will also improve student health and safety by installing more cameras, updating classroom fans, replacing fire doors and updating the heating system. school.
She said the $14.5 million project includes construction and architectural drawing costs. “With the costs of everything rising, we have budgeted extra to address this,” she said. “We also know that the community cannot afford a tax increase and that this project will not raise taxes.”
She said 86% of the project will come from state aid and the district will use $1 million from its capital reserve fund to fund the rest.
Maistros said he met with community leaders about the project Nov. 9 and compiled a list of questions that will be answered on the district’s website. She said she would also attend a seniors’ dinner to answer questions.
She said Thursday night is parent-teacher conference night and she hopes many parents will also attend the forum.
There will also be a forum at 5:30 p.m. on December 8 at the school library. The vote will take place on December 13 at the main entrance of the school.
Vicky Klukkert, editor, can be reached at [email protected] or 607-441-7221.