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Schroon voters OK school renovation plan

SCHROON LAKE Schroon Lake Central School District voters have approved a pair of building improvement projects.
Voters passed a $13.4 million project to improve and upgrade the existing school building by a count of 348-149 in balloting June 28 and adopted a separate $1.3 million conversion of the current combination gym/auditorium into an auditorium by a 290-198 margin. The second proposition was contingent upon the first proposition passing.
Everyone here is very happy, Superintendent Mike Bonnewell said moments after the votes were counted. We would like to thank the entire community for its participation and support.
The first proposition totals $13,398,159.
It calls for repairs to the schools exterior, replacement of single-pane windows and doors installed in the 1960s, installation of a state-mandated storm water basin, installation of mandated fire doors, installation of safety systems, asbestos and lead containment, installation of a state-mandated elevator for handicap accessibility, electrical upgrades, an energy efficiency system, replacement of boilers and internet accessibility.
The proposition also calls for construction of five new classrooms for pre-kindergarten, elementary science, special education, speech and occupational and physical therapy as well as a gymnasium and locker rooms. Current classrooms will be refurbished.
The second proposition totals $1,329,742.
It calls for the current combination gym/auditorium to be converted into an auditorium with additional permanent seating, improved lighting, improved sound system and new stage rigging and curtains.
The projects are eligible for 24.5 percent state aid.
Bonnewell said the project must now be formally approved by the state education department. Although it has already received tentative approval, formal action is expected to take 6-10 months. Once formal approval is received, bid specifications will be prepared and bids sought.
Were still a long ways away from a shovel digging any dirt, Bonnewell said.
Schroon Lake School was constructed in 1935. There was an addition built in 1962 and in 1965 temporary classrooms were placed at the rear of the school those classrooms are still in use.
Schroon voters rejected a proposed $3.1 million project in 1989; rejected a $1 million boiler replacement project in 1990; had a 1992 building proposal die before going to vote; and rejected an $18.2 million project in 2005.
This time voters were more sympathetic.
I think this time we did a better job communicating the needs of the school to the community, Bonnewell said. We also tried to involve as many people as possible in the process each step of the way.
In preparing the latest building proposals, the school board conducted a community phone survey, had five community meetings seeking public comment and met with the town boards of Schroon and North Hudson to gather input.

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