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Albany High School facilities project approved!

Scaled-back proposal cut $16.1 million, more than half of the tax increase

The City School District of Albany will move forward with a $179.9 million plan to renovate and rebuild Albany High School following voter approval Feb. 9 and a ruling from the State Education Department commissioner upholding the vote April 1.

 

The current school was poorly planned and poorly constructed more than 40 years ago, and cannot meet the needs of students today or in the future without major additions and renovations. The scaled-back proposal will create a supportive, up-to-date learning environment that will lead to significantly greater student success and accommodate anticipated enrollment growth of 500 students or more.

 

The reduced $179.9 million proposal cut $16.1 million from the plan voters defeated by 92 votes in November (less than 1 percent of the nearly 13,000 votes that were cast). Click here to download a fact sheet about the scaled-back proposal. You also can visit our Frequently Asked Questions section.

 

Under the scaled-back proposal, Albany taxpayers will pay $62.7 million (35 percent of the total cost). State aid will cover the rest – $117.2 million (65 percent). The Nov. 3 proposal was for $196 million with a local share of $72 million (37%).

 

The new proposal also cut the proposed tax increase by more than half compared to the previous plan. Here is a comparison:

 

Home value Basic STAR Enhanced STAR
$150,000 $19/year
    $1.58/month or 5 cents/day
    ($42/year in original proposal)
$14/year
    $1.17/month or 4 cents/day
    ($30/year in original proposal)
$200,000 $28/year
    $2.33/month or 8 cents/day
    ($60/year in original proposal)
$22/year
    $1.83/month or 6 cents/day
    ($47/year in original proposal)
$250,000 $36/year
    $3.00/month or 10 cents/day
    ($77/year in original proposal)
$30/year
    $2.50/month or 8 cents/day
    ($64/year in original proposal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was eliminated from the Nov. 3 proposal?

The most significant cost reductions in the approved proposal are the elimination of a new auditorium and the elimination of an expansion to the main gym. Those two changes cut the total project cost by about $8 million.

 

The Nov. 3 proposal included a new 1,400-seat auditorium to replace the existing 650-seat auditorium. The new plan will keep the current auditorium, revnoating it and adding a new 200-seat balcony. Additional reductions in the scaled-back proposal are:

  • Three of five distance-learning classrooms have been eliminated (two maintained).

  • $2 million in technology expenses. The district would redirect those funds from its district-wide Smart Schools Bond Act allocation to the new high school.

  • $1.5 million in furniture and equipment expenses.

  • Less-expensive flooring materials will be used in hallways.

  • An artificial-turf athletic practice field has been eliminated. This would remain grass.

What stayed the same in the new proposal?

The scaled-back proposal has the same academic, safety and facilities/systems improvements as the Nov. 3 proposal. Those features include:

  • Classroom addition: A three-story addition to meet anticipated enrollment growth.

  • Completed in the first phase, two years sooner than in the Nov. 3 proposal.

  • CTE move: The career and technical education programs (CTE) currently three blocks away at Abrookin would move to the main campus, improving student safety and expanding CTE’s exposure and relevance to all students. 

  • Safety and security improvements: Albany High’s courtyard has 11 entrances at the center of campus, a major safety concern. The proposal would enclose the courtyard to reduce the number of entrances there to two.

  • The proposal also would redesign the interior to eliminate winding hallways and hidden stairways, and improve sight lines for staff.

  • Facilities improvements: Albany High needs an estimated $55.7 million in updates simply to replace old equipment and facilities, such as the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, roof, brick façade and other systems.

    • A successful vote Feb. 9 could allow roof replacement in time for next school year.

How can I learn more about the new proposal?

The City School District of Albany will provide numerous opportunities for all community members to learn more and ask questions about the proposal in advance of the Feb. 9 vote.

 

Follow this link for a complete schedule of community meetings and presentations. You also can visit our Frequently Asked Questions section.

 

If you would like to schedule a presentation for your group or organization of 10 or more, please contact Director of Communications Ron Lesko at 475-6065 or rlesko@albany.k12.ny.us.

 

Where will I vote Feb. 9?

Voting locations Feb. 9 will be the same as for the annual school budget vote in May. These locations may be different than voting locations for the general election in November. Additionally, some residents may now be assigned to different voting locations than last May following Albany County's redistricting, which went into effect last fall. Please visit our Where do I vote? section to find your polling place for the Feb. 9 referendum. You also can call the board clerk at 475-6010 if you have questions or would like more information.

 

Absentee ballot applications also are available. Click here to download one, or call the board clerk at 475-6010.

 

Additional information

Click here to review the presentation the board considered at its Dec. 17 meeting before voting to approve the Feb. 9 referendum. You also can read more in the Dec. 18 Times Union.

 

There will be numerous opportunities for all residents to learn more about the proposal in advance of the referendum. Please check back frequently for updates, and also stay connected to district news via School News Notifier, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Please follow the links below to for more information:

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Link to Board of Ed page Link to Directory page Link to Our Schools page