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BOCES Seeks Funds For $18.9M In Capital Projects

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES is asking school districts to foot the bill for $18 million worth of capital projects including roof repairs, heating and ventilation systems and renovations for a therapy pool.

"The original roofs were built in the 1970s. They're foamed over and have the ability to encapsulate quite a bit of moisture," said Tom Higgins, the assistant superintendent of BOCES, during a recent presentation in front of the Briarcliff Board of Education. "If the repairs are not done, the roofs will be failing in the near future."

In order for the BOCES capital projects to begin, Boards of Education in all 18 BOCES school districts must approve them, Higgins said. BOCES representatives are slated to give a presentation to the Ossining Board of Education on Wednesday night. All BOCES school districts are expected to vote on whether or not to approve the captial project funding by Jan. 15, BOCES School Communications Coordinator Ellen Lane said.

BOCES expects to pay $900,000 out of its capital fund, and the rest of the $18.9 million in costs are expected to be shared between the 18 school districts according to a formula based upon district property values and student attendance at BOCES.

Higgins estimated that it will cost $5.19 million to do roof repairs, including removing the rooftop foam and installing a rubber membrane. Installation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems was estimated to cost $8.7 million, and renovation of the therapeutic pool was estimated to cost $2.95 million.

"The pool is an integral part of instruction for multiply-disabled students," Higgins noted. "Students in the autistic spectrum have sensory issues they deal with. The pool provides a sensory diet."

BOCES is also looking to install a new fire alarm and public address system for $150,000.

If capital projects are approved, they are expected to be completed within a three-year time frame, Higgins said.

Briarcliff Board of Education member Sal Maglietta asked if there would be a maintenance plan to ensure that capital projects are long lasting. Higgins responded that he expects that BOCES would provide that.

Higgins also said that contributions by school districts towards BOCES capital projects would be excluded from the state's two percent tax cap.

"The law is very clear on that," he said.

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