The Hyde Park capital project would fix the grammar school and improve all the schools

At Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, it is not uncommon for a bucket to be placed in a hallway or classroom to collect water on a rainy day.

The school auditorium has missing and damaged seats where spare parts can no longer be located.

At Ralph R. Smith Elementary School, a bus loop frustrates parents and bus drivers due to the lack of designated drop-off areas for buses and parents, causing traffic jams.

These are some of the issues Hyde Park Central School District is seeking to address with a $35.7 million capital project.

Residents will vote for the project on February 22 at Haviland Middle School.

Hyde Park Central School District Facilities and Operations Manager Elliot Sheldon on the roof of FDR High School in Staatsburg on February 1, 2022.

District officials say the project will receive partial state funding and will not result in a tax increase.

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Facilities and operations manager Elliot Sheldon said the upgrades are necessary and will form part of a future general budget proposal if the capital plan is not passed. In this case, he said the improvements would not receive state assistance.

The goal is to complete the work by the end of 2023, he said.

Worn seats in the auditorium at FDR High School in Staatsburg on Feb. 1, 2022. As part of the Hyde Park Central School District's capital plan, the auditorium would benefit from new seating, lighting and ADA accessibility .

The district estimates it will receive more than $28 million in state assistance for the project and approximately $15.3 million in interest on the approximately $32.4 million loan. The district plans to use $3.3 million from its capital reserve.

In a presentation to the board, the school’s business manager, Linda Steinburg, noted that the loan would not raise taxes because the district has already repaid funds borrowed from a previous capital project passed in 2018.

“For several years, the district has set aside funds for the inevitability of such upkeep,” Superintendent Aviva Kafka said in a letter to the community. “These reserves will finance a significant part of the improvements, as well as money that will be borrowed and paid for through state aid.”

What’s on offer?

The entrance to FDR High School in Staatsburg on February 1, 2022. As part of the Hyde Park School District's capital plan, a new security vestibule would be constructed.

The district is offering upgrades to each building, including security vestibules in each school with a remote kiosk at the elementary school entrance for guests to check in. It also offers HVAC upgrades at some schools, replacement of the high school grass pitch and track, and roofing improvements.

Details include:

Roosevelt High School: $16,511,940

The high school would receive the most attention. In addition to sports fields, an upgrade to its auditorium is estimated to cost nearly two million and a new roof would cost over $4 million.

Roofing material patches at FDR High School in Staatsburg on February 1, 2022. As part of the Hyde Park School District's capital plan, the roof would be replaced.

Sheldon said the 12-year-old roof had been repaired several times but had reached the end of its lifespan. The patches swell with water and seep into the building.

Sheldon said the sports field was built about nine years ago and has a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. He said if the athletics aren’t replaced quickly, it could damage the foundation down the line.

Sheldon said the auditorium would get new seating and lighting; its scene would be changed to ADA Accessible.

The building is also expected to receive building entry upgrades and HVAC upgrades.

Haviland Middle School: $2,646,566

The college should have an improved auditorium and new flooring in its kitchen.

North Park Elementary School: $199,786

North Park would have the least work done, with just the new security vestibule placed at its entrance.

Ralph R Smith Primary School in Hyde Park on February 1, 2022. As part of Hyde Park Central School District's capital plan, the school driveway and student drop-off area would be redesigned and rebuilt.

Ralph R. Smith Elementary School: $4,755,510

The building would receive an approximately $3 million bus loop that officials said would solve congestion and traffic problems both departing and arriving. Sheldon said traffic is a safety issue with parents and buses entering the same area.

“Currently, morning and afternoon buses have to split into three different levels to pick up and drop off students. So with the new design, all buses and students would go to and from buses in same time,” Sheldon said. “Parent drop-off will be changed to be more efficient, so we’ll keep buses and parents separate.

Netherwood Elementary School: $2,030,958

The building needs a new well which is expected to cost $1.2 million.

Violet Avenue Elementary School: $7,211,842

The school needs a $4.7 million water tank and replacement of its HVAC system. In addition, it would receive a stairlift at its entrance.

Hyde Park Elementary: $1,088,666

The primary school needs a replacement of part of its roof and a new well tank.

Administrative building: $1,271,784

The district headquarters needs a new septic tank.

Where to vote

Residents of the Hyde Park District can vote on the Capital Project at Haviland Middle School’s auditorium on Feb. 22 anytime from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A snow date is scheduled for February 24.

Katelyn Cordero is an education reporter for the Poughkeepsie Journal: [email protected]; Twitter: @KatelynCordero.

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