After a lengthy presentation and detailed discussion at their Regular meeting on Tuesday, October 11, 2016, the Rhinebeck Central School District Board of Education approved a motion at an October 18thSpecial meeting to seek voter approval for a capital project referendum in the amount of $12,089,160, by a unanimous 6-0 vote of the Board members present.
The resulting referendum will be presented to the District’s registered voters for their consideration at a Special Election to be held on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 from 2:00 to 9:00 pm in the Bulkeley Middle School cafeteria. Additional detailed information about the voting process and the project scope details will be made available to the community during the time leading up to the referendum vote through a variety of outlets, including the print media, the District website (www.rhinebeckcsd.org), e-mail blasts and other digital media, as well as newsletters and other hard copy mailings.
An affirmative vote on December 6th will allow the design, State Education Department approval, borrowing, and bidding phases of the project to be completed in anticipation of a Summer 2018 construction start, with an estimated conclusion of the project work in late 2019.
In terms of the capital project’s estimated tax impact, a homeowner in the Rhinebeck school district with an assessed value of $291,500, the current median assessed value of a home in the Rhinebeck school district, and a STAR exemption, will pay an average of an additional $78.03 per year over the 18 year life of the bond, in part due to the near-term retirement of the school district’s current debt service obligations for the 1997 addition to the MS/HS building.
The Board’s action on October 18th was based upon the following process:
- The development and submittal in 2015-16 of the State-mandated Building Condition Survey report required every five years, developed with the assistance of the architects from Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers, Albany, NY;
- Months of subsequent review and study regarding the school district’s anticipated capital improvement needs over the next several years and beyond, as identified in the Building Condition Survey; and,
- The engagement of a Community Facilities Task force, consisting of ten volunteer community members, in addition to members of the Board of Education, District administrators, and the District’s design and construction professionals this September and October. This stakeholder group reviewed the identified needs, visited the school district’s facilities to view these needs first-hand, and made recommendations for addressing those needs to the Board of Education
The planned scope of work will involve infrastructure repairs, renovations, replacements, improvements, and upgrades at both of the District’s school buildings and the associated grounds, parts of which include aging infrastructure elements, some of which are 40 to 60 years old. The last major capital project referendum was approved by District voters in January 2003, with a smaller referendum approved in March 2007.
The infrastructure-based project work, if approved by the District’s voters, will address safety and security improvements, climate control, ventilation, and lighting concerns, air and water infiltration problems, energy and maintenance support and efficiency issues, classroom and hallway upgrades, athletic facility restorations and upgrades, site improvements, various code compliance requirements, and cafeteria/kitchen enhancements in support of the District’s students and programs, their families, and the Rhinebeck-area community at large. The approved project does not include any additional square footage to the District’s facilities.
Please check the school district’s website (www.rhinbeckcsd.org), your local newspaper, and your mailbox between now and December 6, 2016 for additional information. Questions should be directed to the Superintendent’s Office and/or to members of the Rhinebeck Board of Education.