School district officials at Clyde-Savannah went out of their way to improve their schools and get everything they wanted on their wish list while ensuring the project would have no impact on local taxes.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our district,” said Michael C. Hayden, Superintendent of
Clyde-Savannah Central School District. “The amount of aid, 89.2 percent, is outstanding.”
Hayden travelled to Albany to seek state aid for the proposed capital improvement project that will ultimately give the district a level playing field with other districts by modernizing the existing buildings.
Thanks to the significant state aid, the proposed project adds nothing to taxpayers bills. The $27,100,000 includes over $23 million in state aid. Another $339,429 comes from EXCEL funds and the remaining $3.5 million comes from capital reserves approved by voters in 2015. An additional $1.18 million will be added to the total project cost for construction of Pre-K classrooms at the elementary school approved by referendum in 2014. This brings the total cost to $28,281,056. Hayden said although they have had approval on the new Pre-K classrooms, they waited to begin construction to maximize efficiencies in construction.
A process that began three years, the proposed project will impact both the elementary and high schools, as well as the Bus Garage and Field House.
At Clyde-Savannah Elementary, project includes a gymnasium addition, the pre-k classroom addition, a library renovation, kitchen & serving renovation, instrumental music renovation, and relocation of the playground. a fire department access drive, secured entrance, handicapped access to stage area and toilet room renovations will also be added. The district also plans to replace the boiler, the HVAC system, the water heater.
At the bus garage, plans include the replacement of the bus lift and roof as well as other improvements.
At Clyde-Savannah Junior-Senior High School, students will see corridor locker replacement, gym floor replacement & refinishing, high school STEAM classroom addition, junior high STEAM classroom renovation, fitness center renovation, kitchen/cafeteria addition & renovation, masonry restoration, pool addition and renovations, among other improvements as well.
Finally at the Field House, residents will see new counters at concessions, handicapped accessibility improvements, replace ticket booths and safety and security improvements.
When Hayden and his staff made a wish list of renovations and improvements they would like to see happen in their schools – all of them essential – he said they never expected to be able to find funding for all of them.
Hayden is excited to see a new 6-lane regulation pool as part of the proposed project. With the current smaller pool, the district has never been able to host a meet. It was also closed often due to mechanical problems. But if the project is approved, they will be able to do so muc, including kayaking.
“Our athletes will be able to train in a regulation pool,” Hayden enthused.
The pool and fitness room will also be open for free use by the community and Hayden said they hope to expand programs they can offer to the community, such as an aquatic exercise program.
“Learning and instruction is changing and we have to evolve with them,” Hayden said, adding that with the casino a few miles away there are more jobs drawing people to the area. “The reality is people are coming to the area. We want an attractive school district.”
The district is behind in STEM, due in part to the facilities. The proposed project would help the district catch up with other districts in the region.
Enrollment in the district has remained steady and they are offering courses through Syracuse University and the Gemini Program through Finger Lakes Community College. But Hayden said they recognize that not all students will go to college. Locally businesses exist offering entry level positions in machining. Getting those machines in the school to give students hands on experience is invaluable and would keep youth from leaving the area.
“We have a number of students at Clyde-Savannah that are very talented,” the superintendent said. “That can excel.”
Although many current students in the high school won’t see the full effects of the proposed renovations, Hayden said the feedback has been very positive, including from students themselves.
“This part of their legacy. Without them (students) we wouldn’t have this,” Hayden said. “It seems too good to be true, but it’s not.”
Rumors about the district becoming a regional school, Hayden added, are simply not true.
If approved by voters on Tuesday, May 16th the project would move to the design phase and then off to the state Education Department for approval. The project would go out to bid in the fall of 2018 and construction would start in 2019 with expected completion in 2021, Hayden said.
Residents may vote on Tuesday, May 16th in the Junior-Senior High School Gym Foyer between noon and 9 p.m.