Au Sable Valley School District plans $30 million capital project

UPPER JAY Au Sable Valley Central School officials say the time is right for a $30 million capital project. Business manager Scott Brow and Superintendent Paul Savage address the Jay Town Board to explain the planned project on Oct. 25. The $29,850,000 project addresses improvements for educational technology, health and safety, accessibility, expansion and energy conservation issues. Savage explained that due to a special state grant, the price will be covered with no construction cost to the tax payers of the AVCS district. Currently the state pays for 98 percent of construction costs for schools, and a special Excel aid grant for $1,032,697 would cover the taxpayer's portion. "It's a project that's exciting for us because it will not cost the taxpayers a dollar in construction cost," said Savage. Savage said items in the project were things the district needed, but hadn't been able to afford. The project includes improvements for all three schools in the district. In Au Sable Forks, the school would have four rooms added, which would create a Universal Pre-K program and add special education classrooms. Keeseville would also gain a Pre-K and Special education classrooms. The Middle-High School would gain four classrooms including special education space and computer labs. The project would also redo the health suites. Savage said that while the district enrollment was decreasing, mandated programs needed the space. "We're looking to provide a little more space and hopefully expand for the future," said Savage. At Keeseville and the Middle-High School, school officials hope to install woodchip boilers. Savage said not only is the system more efficient, but it would save money and promote the local economy, which would supply the fuel. Brow said converting the heating systems would be an annual savings of $149,700, and reduce the school's reliance on oil. The project would require additional maintenance costs - estimated at $35,000 annually - but that would be balanced by projected savings in energy. There will be a public information session on Monday, Nov. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Middle/High School. The issue will be up for public referendum on Nov. 14 at the Middle-High School from noon-9 p.m. It's a one time opportunity. Those dollars will not be there for ever. If we don't use this money, it would go to some other school district," said Savage. Brow said that if the project was improved, construction would likely start in the fall of 2008.

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