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Bedford Schools Capital Plan Scaled Down To $31M

Superintendent Jere Hochman presents revised capital spending plan to Bedford Central School District board members  Wednesday.
Superintendent Jere Hochman presents revised capital spending plan to Bedford Central School District board members Wednesday. Photo Credit: Liz Button

BEDFORD, N.Y. ? The capital spending plan for the Bedford Central School District has been scaled back from an estimated maximum of $75 million to $31 million, officials announced Wednesday.

Superintendent Jere Hochman presented the administration's "significantly scaled back" capital plan recommendation to the Board of Education at its meeting Wednesday. It now covers a smaller volume of projects than originally proposed.

The plan now call for roof repairs at Fox Lane High School ($3,144,083); Bedford Village Elementary School ($1,684,418); Pound Ridge Elementary ($811,196) and Bedford Hills Elementary ($986,177).

These roofs have "exceeded their useful life," said Mark Betz, assistant superintendent for business.

Mount Kisco Elementary School, which has undergone about $15 million in renovations in recent years, will receive no capital improvements.

The plan to overhaul West Patent Elementary will cost $13,421,481, but the scope of projects there is reduced from the original list. The district will replace the building's facade, roof, windows and ceilings to correct leakage problems, and will correct Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance issues in the bathrooms.

Construction teams will also improve lighting and energy efficiency at West Patent. This will include adding photo-voltaic panels to the roof and converting an open space upstairs into an enclosed classroom for science experiments.

No portable classrooms will be needed during construction, the district's architect, Armand Quadrini, said.

Fox Lane Middle School's $6,695,015 capital program will expand the overcrowded cafeteria, renovate the science labs and bring the building up to code with ADA regulations.

Finally, the Fox Lane campus's aging water distribution system will be repaired for $1,695,498, and the track and field will be fixed for $2,520,011, $1 million of which will hopefully come from donations. The district  also hopes to get $250,000 in donations for West Patent's solar roof panels. The rest of the project would be covered by bonding.

According to Hochman, the district is also considering a $3 million to 4 million energy performance contract where costs will be paid back with energy savings in less than 20 years.

Currently, a $5 million operations budget deficit is forecast for the coming year, which some district residents fear will lead to an increased burden on taxpayers over time.

District officials, however, assured the public Wednesday that only first priority projects are covered in this plan, while lower priority plans will be deferred. Security issues, they said, will be addressed via construction on the middle school's front entrance, funded through both the capital plan and the operating budget.

Bedford school board members, who overall reacted positively to the plan, hope to come to a consensus at their Feb. 27 meeting. Their approved version will eventually become the proposal put up for public vote in October.

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