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Re-Imagining Albany High School
Investing in our students. Investing in our community. Investing in our future.

The future of Albany High School is in voters’ hands.

 

After more than a decade of discussion about how new facilities would best serve students for generations to come, including more than two years of planning for the current proposal, the City School District of Albany Board of Education voted unanimously last winter on a proposal to rebuild and enlarge the 41-year-old school and campus.

 

The vote will be Nov. 3, in conjunction with the general election.

 

The project would cost $196 million, a $3.5 million reduction from the original proposal the board approved in February. The board voted Sept. 3 to reduce the proposed cost to account for work that began this summer for a new high school athletic field and repairs and upgrades to the wing of the building that includes the Albany High pool.

 

"A new facility reinvests ourselves in the future of our city. It looks forward and it says to the children of tomorrow, we believe in you," said Board President Ginnie Farrel. "Having a new facility now tells my children that Albany High is a worthwhile place to educate their children.”

 

Find out more about the proposal

You can check out a video about the proposal and the need for new high school facilities to serve our students and community in future decades.

 

Follow this link for a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the proposal. If you have additional questions, please contact Director of Communications Ron Lesko at 475-6065 or rlesko@albany.k12.ny.us.

 

Plan minimizes tax impact 

Construction would be extended over seven years and accomplished in four phases to maximize state aid and reduce the cost to taxpayers.

 

Following the September price reduction, the impact on homeowners also will be less. The district is in the process of calculating those lowered tax figures.

 

The original impact on homeowners with Basic STAR ranged from $40-$80 each year on homes assessed from $150,000-$250,000. With Enhanced STAR for seniors, the project would cost $29-$66 each year on homes assessed in the $150,000-$250,000 range.

 

A bigger, better high school our students and community need and deserve

America's second-oldest city, Albany never has had a public high school that met all of its students' needs on one campus. The proposed $196 million project would provide that for the city for the first time, expanding the school by nearly 50 percent and providing new or significant updates to all aspects of the current 41-year-old facility located at 700 Washington Ave.

 

The new Albany High would include five smaller learning communities -- including a new three-story academic wing -- specifically designed to meet future program goals. Albany High currently has four smaller learning communities that were retrofitted into the aging facility four years ago.

 

When it is completed, the expanded school would allow staff to manage increases in student enrollment that are projected over the next decade. Albany High finished the 2014-15 school year with about 2,300 students, but enrollment projections anticipate that figure growing to 3,000 or more.

 

New facilities alone won’t solve the academic challenges many Albany High students encounter, but the project will help staff design better programs to meet the needs of all students.

 

“The building does not make the program,” then-Albany High Principal and current Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Cecily Wilson-Turner said. “The program fits into the building. So the better our physical space is the better our programs for students can be.”

 

The project would add a second academic wing, a new auditorium and fine-arts center, and a welcome and wellness center accessible to the community. It also would include space for all of Albany High’s career and technical education programs, currently located three blocks away at the Abrookin Career and Technical Center.

 

Major renovations would include the current academic building and gym, which would be expanded and also would include an indoor running track. A second auxiliary gym also would be added to provide more options and access for students to physical education classes geared toward fitness activities like they will encounter after high school. The school’s open courtyard would be enclosed to create a common area and glass-paneled atrium. Enclosing the courtyard also would add more learning space inside the building.

 

You can read a Times Union article for additional coverage; please note that the board since has reduced the proposed cost to $196 million.

 

Doing nothing is not an option

Doing nothing is not an option for Albany High School any longer.

 

Designed in the 1960s and built in the early 1970s, the school no longer can meet teaching and learning needs of today's students. It is falling apart in many areas and, like many public facilities across the state and nation, it is not safe in today’s world. It also is too small to accommodate the projected enrollment growth the district predicts for future years, when the school's student body is expected to grow from about 2,300 students to 3,000 or more.

 

Major investments are needed in our city’s public high school to benefit our students and community.

 

The cost of necessary repairs and upgrades -- such as the failing heating and air conditioning systems, and the aging roof -- is estimated at $55.7 million. The cost of an addition to serve the anticipated enrollment growth would be about $45.6 million. The cost of that work, at more than $100 million combined, would do nothing to address the overall learning environment throughout the school, the remote location of the career and technical education programs or the persistent safety and security concerns the school presents in its current layout.

 

"We know that doing nothing is not an option," said Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs Bill Hogan. "We can either approach this brick-by-brick or system-by-system or project-by-project, or, what we've tried to do is package addressing the current needs that we know of and plan for future enrollment. And from a programmatic standpoint we believe that the way we are designing the building will set the stage for 21st-century learning and better match the way we teach today versus the way we were teaching in the early '70s when this building opened."

 

Please follow the links below to read more about the process of Re-Imagining Albany High School:

 

 

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