BEDFORD, N.Y. — The Bedford Central School District has taken on a huge project, but luckily, they have a strategy in place.
The district’s newest capital plans involve renovating West Patent Elementary School, modernizing the science labs and cafeteria at Fox Lane Middle School, continuing the high school stadium’s renovation and addressing top-priority infrastructure improvements in all of the district’s buildings.
At the Board of Education meeting Wednesday morning, Assistant Superintendent of Business Mark Betz laid out a timeline for the capital projects plan “from ideas to shovel in the ground,” detailing all the minutiae involved in its completion.
After the administration spent a year examining all district buildings, they submitted their plan and strategy at the Board of Education’s meeting earlier this month.
From this point on, Betz said, the district will fill out the details of the plan; hire a construction manager, environmental consultant and financial consultant; perform an environmental review under the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) process; and BOCES and the state's special-education department must sign off. After that, the administration will vote to approve the bond resolution in January.
Following that, details will be disseminated to the community with information sessions, leading up to a public vote on the bond resolution in March.
One way the district will gather information before the vote is with a capital plan advisory committee. This committee, which will also review the plan’s financing options and design, will be formed in August from a selection of school staff, civic leaders, Booster Club members, parents, students and other community members.
If approved by the community in March, the plans will be fleshed out by architects, and specs will be submitted to the state Education Department’s building-planning department. This begins a final approval process that can take three to eight months. Then the district bids on construction services which the board needs to approve, and finally, construction can begin.
Although the process can be daunting, Betz said, “We’re not rookies at the process,” so the school board can afford to focus its energies on the projects at hand.
The board agreed that community outreach is an integral part of the process before the public vote in March.
“When you take this out to the community and ask them what their priorities are, then you can take a look at what is really achievable,” said board member Graham Anderson.//