and one people turned out to vote in Salmon River School
District's $36.5 million capital project vote, which was
held in the SRC high school auditorium October 22, 2013.
District voters approved funding for the capital project
382-212. However, voters rejected proposition two,
425-176, which would have allowed the district to build
a synthetic turf field.
The scope of
the project includes renovations and improvements to
boilers, the water system, plumbing, roofs, ventilation,
electrical, exterior, classrooms throughout all three
school buildings, the high school gymnasium, and the bus
garage; asbestos abatement and field work. Approximately
147,000 square feet of leaking and deteriorating roofs
and ventilation systems that haven't been upgraded since
the 1950s and 60s will be among the most important
turned down the previous project proposal in March, a
Capital Project Committee was formed to review the scope
of the work and provide feedback to the Buildings and
Grounds Committee. The committee recommended the removal
of a bus wash and indoor track for the high school
gymnasium which amounted to approximately $2.8 million.
The Department of Health however, has since directed the
district to develop a new water source. Water upgrades
are budgeted at approximately $2.4 million
"I want to
thank the community for turning out to support the
project," said Collins after the tallies were announced.
"I'm looking forward to refining the design process and
working with the staff and the board."
will be funded with a combination of NYS building aid,
NYS EXCEL aid, NYS Native American Aid and District debt
reserves. The Native American Aid will be based on
the percentage of enrollment of Native American students
who reside on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation and is
funded at the beginning of the project. EXCEL aid
is an additional funding amount provided by the State as
an incentive for schools to undertake a capital project.
This project would be allowed to use $410,000.
EXCEL funding would be provided once the project has
started. NYS building aid would be reimbursed over
the life of the project at a rate of 98% and funding
would begin once the final cost report is filed with the
state. District debt reserves would cover the
remaining $414,360 that the other aid streams do not
cover. The debt reserve was set up by the District
at the beginning of the previous capital project so that
proceeds from low interest bonds and refunding bonds
could be maintained to pay future debt payments.
Capital Project Q&A
General Financial Questions
Q. How will the project be funded?
A. The project will be funded with a combination of NYS
building aid, NYS EXCEL aid, NYS Native American Aid and
District debt reserves. The Native American Aid will be
based on the percentage of enrollment of Native American
students who reside on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation
and is funded at the beginning of the project. EXCEL aid
is an additional funding amount provided by the State as
an incentive for schools to undertake a capital project.
This project would be allowed to use $410,000. EXCEL
funding would be provided once the project has started.
NYS building aid would be reimbursed over the life of
the project at a rate of 98% and funding would begin
once the final cost report is filed with the state.
District debt reserves would cover the remaining
$414,360 that the other aid streams do not cover. The
debt reserve was set up by the District at the beginning
of the previous capital project so that proceeds from
low interest bonds and refunding bonds could be
maintained to pay future debt payments.
Q. How will my taxes be affected if one or both
A. There will be no local tax impact for the capital
improvement project if the first proposition passes. If
the second proposition passes, the cost of construction
would also have no local tax impact. However, the
district would need to set up a reserve to cover the
potential cost of turf replacement. This reserve will
need approximately $50,000 a year, which would cause an
increase to the tax levy. This increase would cost an
average homeowner an estimated $14 per $50,000 of
Q. Why hasn’t the project cost decreased?
A. While we eliminated the bus wash and indoor track,
which amounted to approximately $2.8 million, the
Department of Health has since directed the district to
develop a new water source. This could be done by
connecting to a municipal water treatment system or
through the development of a new water treatment system.
Water upgrades are budgeted at approximately $2.4
million. Additionally, the budget consists of a 4%
increase over the previous project due to inflation.
Q. What happens if the State wants to reduce aid for
A. NYS building aid is not the same as the foundation
aid that covers the day to day operations of the schools
that have been drastically cut in the past several
years. Historically, when changes have been made to NYS
building aid, the state has not reduced or cut back its
commitment to pay aid at a particular aid ratio on
projects already approved and being aided. Existing
projects have essentially been grandfathered at the aid
that was already calculated. When a new tier of aid has
been authorized, resulting is some sort of aid ratio
change, past policy has applied the new aid ratio to
capital projects without current voter approval or
approval by the Commissioner of Education. Revised aid
ratios have never been applied to projects already being
aided. Salmon River had a ratio of 94% prior to 1998,
95% between 1998 and 2005 and is currently at a ratio of
98% state aid. It would be to Salmon River’s advantage
to act now, as these aid ratios could go down in the
Q. Does the District have a reserve to cover future debt
A. The District currently has a debt reserve set up for
future debt payments associated with capital projects.
The reserve has $572,357 in the account as of 6/30/13.
This balance will be used to offset years in which the
state aid payments are less than the principal and
interest payments that are due. Therefor there will be
no local tax impact for the debt service payments.
Q. Part of the cost of the projects may be paid from the
state, but doesn’t that money really come from my
A . Yes, it does. Most state money comes from income tax
and sales tax paid by all New York residents and
businesses across the state. But these taxes are taxes
we will all pay whether or not Salmon River’s capital
project is approved. The school district has the
responsibility to assure that all the money it spends
(both from state and local sources) is spent wisely.
That is why renovation priorities were weighed
carefully. The failing water system, leaking roofs, and
deteriorating buildings are just as real as other school
districts receiving state aid.
Q. What will happen if the project bids come in higher
A. If project bids come in higher than expected, the
alternate bids will not be included in the project work.
The Architects and Construction Managers will review the
bids and look for ways to revise the scope of the work
to lower the bids. This can be done in a variety of ways
such as changing materials used or combining contracts.
The total project scope cannot exceed the voter
authorization and include a contingency budget for
unforeseen costs during the project.
Q. Will there be any savings to the District By
upgrading the facilities?
A. The District will see savings with energy efficient
upgrades to the boilers, increased insulation and new
doors and windows. Others areas of savings will be in
decreased maintenance costs for repairs to the current
systems such as the roofs, boilers and water system. The
elementary renovations will allow for that area to
utilize the current geo-thermal system and reduce the
District’s use of fuel oil. In the last capital project
100,000 square feet were added to the building. These
additions were heated with the geo-thermal system
without increasing the consumption of fuel. In 2008-09
the building used .53 gallons of oil per square foot. In
2012-13 the building used .43 gallons of oil per square
Questions related to the scope of work
Q. Why didn’t the District fix these systems in the
A.The previous project only allowed for approximately
$28M in renovations to be done based on NYS Facilities
Planning maximum cost allowances. The priority of the
District at that time was to create a Middle School and
ensure that the necessary abatement was performed in the
areas that were occupied by the students. To accomplish
this there were many renovations that needed to be done.
The District carefully planned the project so all aid
could be maximized and the remaining work could be
completed in a second phase. By completing the additions
first we were able to increase our maximum cost
allowance for future project to $55M.
Q. Why should we move all the students to the middle of
A. The classrooms will move to the middle of the
building to provide additional security measures. There
will be locking fire doors that would close off access
to classrooms and would give teachers and student
additional time to get to safety in an emergency
situation. In addition, moving classrooms together would
allow for more collaboration with grade levels and less
time would be lost going from classroom to the special
Q. What we are going to do with all the classrooms that
A. Typical enclosed classrooms are being developed from
open classroom spaces. This results in rooms which are
acoustically better and also address security concerns.
Enclosed classrooms are being constructed in areas that
are currently open classrooms.
Q. Will there be any additions in the project?
A. The only additions planned in this project are to
accommodate the new bus lift, greenhouse and a sugar
shack. The local cost of the sugar shack and greenhouse
will be paid for by the FEH Boces and will be used for
the agricultural program.
Q. Will there be a cost to maintain the new project
A. Since the building footprint will not be expanded
there will be no additional maintenance costs to the
upgrades. The project upgrades will provide many energy
upgrades that will save money on heating and cooling.
Systems such as heating, electrical, water and plumbing
currently require costly repairs on an annual basis. New
systems will require less maintenance and save the
District money on repair costs. There will be no
increase in staffing due to the project.
Q. How can we have accurate costs for a project that is
a year and a half away?
A. Costs include the appropriate contingencies and
escalations and are based on the timing of the schedule.
The District can only spend up to the budget authorized
by the voters.
Q. Could local workers be hired?
A. Our construction managers would encourage
participation by local contractors, as well as possible
development of bid packages which would allow for local
participation. However according to NYS Wicks Laws the
District is required to hire the lowest bidder
regardless of where the workforce is located.
Q. How will the project be bid?
A. During the preliminary planning phase the District
will decide what aspects of the project will be
considered top priority and be included in the base bid.
Other areas that are not considered high priority will
be considered as alternates depending on if the base
bids come in lower than projected or higher. Alternates
can help protect the budget and also gives the District
options for additional work to be performed throughout
Q. Why do we need to expand the bus garage and add more
A. The bus garage needs to be expanded to accommodate
the length of the new buses. Currently the new buses
only fit on 1 lift. This limits the flexibility for
maintenance of the buses. The project would also look at
the possibility of adding an additional lift for smaller
buses and vehicles.
Q. Why do we need more athletic fields?
A. Currently our athletics teams are bussed to the St.
Regis Mohawk School and other area fields for practices.
This uses District money to transport the students and
takes time away from the practices. During the fall and
spring sports seasons we do not have enough
soccer/lacrosse fields to support our growing programs.
Additionally new laws do not allow modified players to
be on the same fields as the varsity players. This
continues to limit our available fields.
Q. Would solar power be a feasible option for the
A. The design team had considered solar power and would
during the future design phases. Solar power may be a
viable option for certain elements of the project.
Q. The last project approved for $49.8 million was
supposed to include the fitness center and gym
renovations, why weren’t they included?
A. The fitness center was included in the original $74
million project scope. Due to limits imposed by the NYS
Facilities Planning the project had to be split into 2
phases to stay within the maximum cost allowance allowed
by the State. That project was presented to the voters
in 2 phases that would be completed over a five to seven
year span. The fitness center was included in phase 2
and was not included in the first phase that was
presented to the voters on February 28th. The high
school gym renovations were supposed to be completed in
phase 1. These renovations had to be removed due to
extensive abatement that was discovered during
construction. However, the locker rooms for the HS were
General questions related to a possible
synthetic turf playing field
Q. Why are we considering a synthetic turf field?
A. The field located adjacent to the bus garage has been
plagued with drainage issues. The community has the
option of investing in fixing the drainage on the
existing field or investing in a synthetic turf field.
The Board has decided to put the option before the
Q. What happens if the synthetic turf proposition passes
and the main project does not pass?
A. Proposition # 2 (Synthetic Turf) as it appears on the
ballot, will allow the District to invest in such a
field ONLY IF proposition #1 passes.
Q. How long will synthetic turf last?
A. Synthetic turf is estimated to last approximately
10-12 years before needing to be replaced.
Financial questions related to a possible
synthetic turf playing field
Q. How will the District pay for the replacement of the
A. Turf fields are projected to last 11 years before
requiring replacement. NYS will only aid replacement
after a 15-year time frame. Therefore, if the turf fails
before 15 years have passed, the costs would fall to the
district and subsequently the taxpayers, costing
approximately $500,000. To assure its continued use and
eventual replacement, the district would set up a
reserve over the next ten years that would create an
estimated $14 annual impact on taxpayers per $50,000 of
assessed home value. Without a reserve, a failed field
could not be replaced until the 15 years are reached and
could not be used for athletic events for safety
The Salmon River
Central School District Board of Education would like to
thank the special community committee for all of their
hard work and dedication throughout the process.
The Board of
Education is very grateful to the Capital Project
Committee, which met four times to review the scope of
the work and provide feedback to the Buildings and
Grounds Committee. The committee also provided
recommendations on how the district should communicate
with the public about the scope of the project.
Committee members included Jacque Laduc, Gisele Hance,
Dr. Ben Kelly, Barb Kelly, and Rod Lauzon.
30, 2013 Meeting Minutes
6, 2013 Meeting Minutes
June 20, 2013 Meeting Minutes
July 18, 2013 Meeting Minutes
Community Commitee Responses 7/18/13
Capital Project Presentation 7/18/13
Dr. Ben Kelly,
For more information contact
the Superintendent at 518-358-6610.
here to view the
2008 21st Century Instructional, Health & Safety Capital
Malone Telegram Article:
2008 Capital Project Mailer