A proposition in the Westport Central School District to install a generator and make improvements to the school library passed, 171-157, during voting May 15.
Westport Central School has voted to put a Capital Improvement project before voters on May 15 for construction proposed that would cost district taxpayers nothing.
The project will include tearing out the sun room in the library and building a newer sunroom to enclose the library, along with the purchase of a new 150-kilowatt generator for the building. The total project cost is estimated to be $450,000.
Superintendent Dr. John Gallagher said by using the undesignated reserves, an EXCEL Grant and State funding, the improvement project will have little to no impact on taxpayers.
“The whole thing is paid for so the cost to local tax payers is zero and there will be no influence on tax rate for the first years,” Gallagher said.
The project will be funded in part by an EXCEL grant, which has designated $81,396 for the district. EXCEL (EXpanding our Children’s Education and Learning) is a one-time aid grant created by the New York State Legislature to provide school districts with additional funding for specified types of school construction projects.
Gallagher said state funding for aidable work balance will cover 65.4 percent of the construction cost, amounting to roughly $293,850.
$77,000 of undesignated reserves will also be used for the project.
The construction on the sunroom, which was originally built in 1996, qualifies for the EXCEL grant as an sunroom.
“It’s disintegrating, we have what we call 12 bucket days when it rains,” Gallagher said.
Caulking around the glass panes has started to corrode over the years, Principal Architect at AES North East and project architect David Whitford said. The disintegrating caulking has resulted in massive leaks into the library and seeping water between the panes, which breaks them as it freezes.
Whitford said the board hopes to replace the sunroom with a newer sunroom that will have a solid roof instead of a glass roof. Newer sunrooms have longer warranties than older models and are designed to be more efficient.
The other half of the project will be the installation of a 150-kilowatt diesel generator which will allow the building to function as a shelter in case of an emergency. The generators installment will require construction of a concrete pad in the front of the school and also will require a brick facade to hide it from street view. Whitford said the generator’s installment will require major rewiring to allow it to power the school’s heating system, life safety systems and the kitchen.
The school will be able to function as a shelter for Horace Nye Nursing Home and Camp Dudley in the summer.
“It won’t light the addition of the building, but it will allow us to have emergency light, heat and support to function as a Red Cross Shelter,” Gallagher said.
Other projects originally proposed for inclusion in the project were repairs to the bus shed, rehabilitation of the schools parking lot and upgrades in building security. Gallagher said those projects will have to wait when more money becomes available. Gallagher said the board wanted to complete projects that would have the most limited effect on tax rates.
The school board will hold a public hearing on the project May 3, and residents will vote on the project at the districts annual meeting on May 15.