Bedford school district hopes for public support for $62 million bond issue

Three years ago, the Bedford Central School District identified a long list of facility improvements for its seven school buildings and sports facilities on the Fox Lane campus.

This master planning process estimated potential projects of up to $112 million for upgrading infrastructure and learning spaces. The school board spent several meetings earlier this school year to deliberate and ultimately prioritize the needs of the district that will result in a two-proposal referendum next Tuesday.

First, there is the $58.9 million Proposal 1 consisting of infrastructure improvements at each school and the reconfiguration of parts of Fox Lane Middle School and Fox Lane High School to improve learning environments and functionality of the two secondary schools in the district. The proposal also includes work on the administration and land and transport buildings.

Proposal 2, valued at $3,651,000, would add air conditioning to the second and third floors of the high school’s Wings A and C to alleviate the uncomfortable heat on the upper floors on hot days in September, May and June. The first proposal must be approved for the additional air conditioning to be carried out.

Now, the public will be asked for their support on May 17, the same day as the district budget vote and school board election to maintain buildings and bring middle and high school into the 21st century and maintain

“We really try to ensure that our infrastructure and our learning environments truly align with the district’s vision, mission and core values,” said school board chair John Boucher.

Most of the work would be done in middle school and high school. Of the nearly $59 million in Proposition 1, the high school would see $20.3 million in improvements. This would include renovating over 25,000 square feet of space to create a new learning exchange that combines the current library, cafeterias, guidance and art offices, career center and art gallery. art.

Boucher said the first floor will be reconfigured to resemble the number of university spaces operated today.

“When you walk through that front door (in high school) all you see is a long, narrow hallway and you don’t really realize the library is on the left and the cafeteria on the right and the orientation is a little further down,” he said.

Other improvements to the high school’s space and learning environment would include renovating the current student commons, converting the small gymnasium into a fitness center, and renovating the existing fitness center, which is located on the basement, and the current locker rooms, some of which will be used. for coaches, referees and other purposes.

The college would see about $18.2 million in work including $8.9 million for learning and space improvements. These highlights would include a 1,300 square foot main entrance addition with an awning; a covered walkway leading to the school gymnasium; a new 350-seat amphitheater for outdoor classes and shows; renovation of the first floor, second floor music area and third floor technology spaces into STEAM labs; and an outdoor shelter in the gymnasium building.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joel Adelberg said while the largest spending, including an additional $7.7 million for high school and college athletic facilities, would benefit high schools, the educational experiences of all students who crossing the district would be improved.

“I think it’s a really thoughtful, future-focused connection with huge opportunities for our students, to the next generation,” Adelberg said. “You pass a link now, the children who will be most affected are in a few years. I think there are some amazing potential opportunities – learning exchange, outdoor learning opportunities, wellness focus, STEAM focus, so I think that’s why the feedback we’ve heard has been really positive.

The amphitheater, for example, would also be used by elementary students for various programs, he said.

The athletics facility portion of the bond will see improvements to the multi-purpose synthetic turf field which is used for baseball and would also accommodate regulation soccer, lacrosse and field hockey surfaces, while attention would also be granted to field 4 as well as to the softball field and the tennis courts.

Three new sanitary facilities would also be added. Boucher said that when crowds come to campus for sporting events, spectators are forced to use port-o-johns or get a bathroom inside one of the schools, potentially creating a dangerous situation.

In addition to infrastructure upgrades to all schools in the district, district-wide communications upgrades would be made that would enhance security, and air conditioning would be installed on the second floor of Mount Kisco Elementary School.

Boucher said the district’s bond attorney advised school officials that a bond of up to $70 million would be tax neutral due to the expiration of the debt. That projection assumes a 100 basis point increase in interest rates when the district borrows next year, he said.

“Going down to the $62 million level also gives us a bit more flexibility in that if we need to extend the duration of the bonds a little bit, if we want to continue to keep it tax neutral, then there’s this flexibility,” says Boucher.

Most of the work would be done during the summers of 2023 to 2025 to minimize distractions when school is in session, he said. Work that would not affect teaching could be done during the school year.

Boucher and Adelberg hope the public will support the link next Tuesday. They agree it would help keep schools in Bedford competitive and attract families to the district.

“The sentiment has been relatively positive,” Boucher said. “Certainly, no negative sentiment, and we’re also hearing positive through our parent-teacher organizations.”

Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17. Every registered voter can go to their local elementary school to vote.

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