Voters weigh $5.6-million capital project for Onondaga Central Schools

Renovations include brick and drain repairs and energy improvements

NEDROW (WSYR-TV) - From aging bus lifts to flooded floors with clogged drains, Superintendent Robin Price says Onondaga Central School District's bus garage is the biggest target for renovations in a proposed $5.6-million capital project.
"Every five years, New York State requires school districts to do a building condition survey," he says.
District-wide inside and out, he points to cracked bricks, walls and overhangs. Building repairs alone are estimated to cost $4.5-million.
"We're going to get almost 83-cents on a dollar for renovations through the state," Price adds "Another school district will be able to use that money if we don't capitalize on it. We'll lose out on that."
The rest is covered by savings and bonds. The superintendent insists local taxes won't go up because new bonds will come just as old debt gets paid off....keeping local taxes flat in terms of this project.
The portion covered by state aid is spread out to taxpayers across New York.
Another part of the project, a $1.1-million deal with Siemens, calls for energy performance improvements. 
Price says rooftop solar panels could be installed, along with LED's to replace old power hungry lights and more efficient heating units. 
Currently, the heat for individual rooms may be programmed to turn on in the morning and turn off in the evening. The superintendent says upgrades might include sensors that indicate when rooms are empty and may not need as much heat in the middle of the day.
"We're looking at $61,000 a year in savings in energy performance," Price says. "Siemens will write us a difference within the contract and write the district a check if we don't see those savings annually."
He has seen similar projects lead to savings through his previous experience in the Oneida City School District.
If the project is not approved, Price says building repairs could be done over time through regular maintenance, likely without state aid.
On March 8, voters will be asked to balance future planning with their current budget.
Voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. At the Rockwell Community Room and the Jr./Sr. High School Cafeteria Lobby.
First, families can get more information through community meetings. The Nedrow Fire Department is hosting a meeting from 6 p.m. To 7:30 p.m. tonight, February 15.
Another meeting will be held at the Navarino Fire Department on February 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The bus garage will have open houses on March 1 and March 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Click here to see more information about the project online.

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