ELLENBURG DEPOT - Northern Adirondack Central School hopes to receive necessary funds from the state to make some major changes to the school and campus.
EXCEL, a state-funded program which offsets costs relating to health and safety projects, will provide $28 million to NAC if the community votes to pass the plans on which they are working.
"We are in the pre-referendum phase prior to the vote," explained superintendent Laura J. Marlow.
The school district has put together a facilities planning committee consisting of faculty, staff, community members, administrators, and board members to make recommendations to the school board of what they believe the school needs.
"Where we're at right now is looking again, and narrowing the scope of the project," Marlow said. "Really focusing in on the health and safety."
Ideas the committee hopes to make realty include a new six-lane running track, improvements to the elementary school playground, a regulation-size football field, and improving the varsity baseball field.
"Another area we're targeting is technology," Marlow explained.
"Right now we don't have cable in the classrooms. We do have computers, but what we don't have is the level of SMART Board technology that we would like to see."
"It's really enhancing and expanding and really getting it into the 21st century," she added.
In terms of safety, the committee hopes to add secure entrances, which the school currently lacks.
"Most schools, when you enter, ... the teachers have a swipe card to gain access," said Marlow. "If a community member were to come into the building, there would be a check point where they would have to stop; that you couldn't gain entrance if you were to walk into the entire building."
Overall, Marlow believes the changes planned for the district will benefit the students as well as the community.
"We're a very community-based school," she said. "Our community, as opposed to some other schools where you're not allowed to use the facilities, we welcome the community to use our facilities. It's not uncommon to see the community coming in and walking our halls and using our pool, using our fitness facility." A community forum is being planned for either late November or early December, which Marlow hopes will answer all questions the community may have.
"We [want to] get out the information in a very clear, simple, but very concise manner," she said, "in which people will be able to easily understand, so when the they go to the polls on Dec. 14, they're going to have a very good education and understanding of this entire project, and why it's so needed."
"The EXCEL money is a one-time shot and we want to make sure that we really present this in a positive light," Marlow added.
If the community votes to go ahead with the EXCEL project, Marlow anticipates work will begin sometime in 2011.
"We have not had any capital improvement projects in this district in over 10 years," said Marlow. "We really are in dire need of some infrastructure improvements and repairs."
"It is tough economic times and you hear major cuts and everything and still you have to be able to keep your facilities in good working order," she added. "Just like we do with our homes."