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Expansive school renovation finished

Last of 14 schools district rebuilt or renovated opens for the 2010-11 school year

 

The last school to be renovated in the City School District of Albany’s plan to rebuild or renovate most of its schools reopened for the start of the 2010-11 school year.

 

Arbor Hill Elementary School returned to an updated building in September 2010, its renovations the final piece of this major undertaking that Albany taxpayers approved in December 2001.

 

As of today, the district boasts 14 recently renovated or rebuilt schools, each one energy-efficient and equipped with up-to-the minute technology.

 

In the end, the district built five brand new schools: Stephen and Harriet Myers Middle School, Sheridan Preparatory Academy, Montessori Magnet School, Delaware Community School and Pine Hills Elementary School.

 

Nine other buildings underwent extensive renovations and/or additions: Philip Schuyler Achievement Academy, Eagle Point Elementary School, North Albany Academy, New Scotland Elementary School, the award-winning William S. Hackett Middle School, Harriet Gibbons High School, Giffen Memorial Elementary School, Thomas O'Brien Academy of Science and Technology (TOAST) and the new and improved Arbor Hill Elementary School.

 

“The intent of the facilities plan was to reshape education in Albany by putting an end to inequity among schools,” said Superintendent Raymond Colucciello, Ed.D. “Every school now has the resources necessary to support learning and be a source of neighborhood pride. We are grateful to our community for their outstanding support, both at the outset of this effort and throughout the decade. The result is one of the most impressive collections of school facilities anywhere in New York state." 

 

Students and staff were housed in temporary space during many of the renovations, and Dr. Colucciello commended them for their patience and perseverance.

 

Project history

In December 2001, Albany voters approved a $176.5 million facilities project seeking to newly build and/or renovate nearly every elementary and middle school in the City School District of Albany. The goal of the “comprehensive facilities plan” was to give every school the resources necessary to help students succeed in the 21st Century.

 

In June 2003, voters approved an additional $8.7 million to expand the scope of the plan, bringing the total to $185.2 million. Renovations of the former Harriet Gibbons High School were completed in 2003.

 

Sheridan Preparatory Academy and Philip Schuyler Elementary were early projects on the drawing board and they opened their doors in September 2004. New the following year were Myers Middle School and Montessori Magnet School, along with the newly renovated Eagle Point Elementary School and North Albany Academy.

 

Delaware Community School and Pine Hills Elementary School opened their doors in January 2007. A month later, Albany voters approved a $19 million referendum at no additional cost to taxpayers; this referendum enabled the district to draw matching state dollars and invest a total of $32 million in renovations to Giffen, TOAST and Arbor Hill Elementary.

 

Hackett students returned to their school in September 2008. New Scotland Elementary School was back in business in January of 2009 and renovations at Giffen were complete in time for the start of the 2009-10 school year.

 

TOAST students moved back to Lincoln Park in January 2010.

 

Arbor Hill's move back home in September 2010 -- after a two-year stint in temporary space -- capped the district-wide project. Students came home to a school with high-tech equipment, new desks and chairs, new classrooms with walls (replacing the 1970s-style open classroom model) and new windows that open.

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