Phase III Facilities Improvement Project Frequently Asked Questions include:
What is actually being done to the facilities?
- Malta Ave Elementary: The proposed improvements include renovations, beginning with critical health, safety and infrastructure items in the Grove Street section of the building (that were not addressed in Phase I), including classrooms, the gymnasium, auditorium, cafeteria and hallways.
- Middle School: Renovations of areas that are original to the building including science, technology (shop), and art classrooms, bathrooms, as well as the gymnasium and locker rooms.
- High School: Renovations include replacement of the original heat and power cogeneration equipment and related control systems; replacement of heat pumps for heating/cooling throughout the building; upgrades to the auditorium (stage curtains and select stage lighting), and a new overhead door at the technology classroom for improved access given the types of projects that our students are involved in.
- Athletic Fields: The proposal includes the rehabilitation of fields in front of and behind the Middle School, the construction of a new multipurpose field and gravel parking area on the south end of the campus, and the construction of a new athletic storage building located near the football stadium.
Who determined the work that needed to be done?
The District Wide Facilities Planning Team, which was an advisory committee assisting the district with the development of a long-range and comprehensive facilities plan. This team of over 40 community members made prioritized recommendations to the Board of Education that included significant renovations and new construction, beginning with critical health, safety and infrastructure items. The committee started meeting in June 2009, and its findings were subsequently adopted by the Board of Education in February 2010. Phase III is a continuation of many of those recommendations and includes areas that have since been identified (e.g., athletic field refurbishments and additions) based on growth is certain areas.
How much will this cost the average taxpayer if it is approved?
Based on the average home assessed at $235,000, the projected net tax impact is estimated to be $11.60 per year, starting in 2021.
What is “state building aid” and how does it help us as taxpayers?
State building aid ratios are assigned to each district within New York State based on a number of factors including the district’s wealth/need ratio. Aid is available for those projects approved by the State Education Department. For Ballston Spa, our building aid ratio is approximately 75%, meaning that for those areas approved by the department we will receive $.75 back on every dollar spent on construction projects.
Why are we voting in October instead of in May when we usually do?
In order for us to get the required approvals from the State Education Department and to stay within our bidding and construction timelines, it is necessary that we request voter approval in October, rather than our next budget vote in May.
Given that our enrollment has decreased over the years, why do we keep having facilities projects?
Our enrollment, while having declined over the years, has not reached a level where certain areas are no longer in use. In order to provide our students with a safe, healthy learning environment and to take good care of the community's facilities, these projects are necessary in order to maintain and update aging and/or outdated facilities.
For the Malta Avenue building, haven’t we already done renovations there?
Improvements to the Malta Avenue Elementary School are located within the Grove Street section of the building (circa 1920s). This area was not included in the 2013-2014 improvement project that addressed the Pine Street and Chapman Street sections of the building.
How will the proposed changes impact our students’ academic experience?
While having a well-trained, knowledgeable teacher in our classrooms is the most important aspect of a child’s ability to learn and learn well, the classroom environment including, but not limited to, the level of natural light and the air quality are also supported by research relative to improving the ability of students to learn.
How will the project improve our students’ wellness?
One of the critical areas of effective learning environments that is supported by research is the quality of classroom air. Ventilation improvements associated with the new systems in both Malta Avenue and the High School will provide better air quality and will therefore improve the learning environment.
If the project is approved, when will the work start and when will it be completed?
Construction will start in the spring of 2020 and be completed by the fall of 2022.
Will there be any public presentations about the project?
During the weeks before the vote on October 16, 2018, there will be informational meetings scheduled throughout the district and community to help voters become informed about the Phase III project. Presentations will be made in the Towns of Milton (October 1 at 6:30 pm), Ballston (October 4 at 6:30 pm), and Malta (October 9 at 6:30 pm). For additional information, to arrange for a tour of the buildings, or request a speaker to attend a meeting or gathering to provide more information, please contact the District Office at 884-7195.
How will the proposed facilities improvements be completed if the referendum is not supported by the district voters?
As there are critical infrastructure areas within this project that must be addressed, a revised referendum would have to be considered by the Board of Education and administration.
Whom do I contact if I have specific questions about the project?
Additional information about the plan, including site plans and the history of the Phase I and II projects, is located on the district website at www.bscsd.org, or by calling the District’s Business Office at 518-884-7195 ext. 1320.