C-R to vote on $37 million building project


By Jim Poole

A massive building project––about $37 million, the largest in more than 20 years––will go to Cobleskill-Richmondville voters in November.
The project includes improvements to all four schools and the bus garage, but despite its $37 million cost, the work will not increase the tax levy––if voters approve.
“It will actually lower the levy,” said Superintendent Carl Mummenthey. “I can say that.”
The work is expected to start in 2021, when C-R will have finished paying off old debt on earlier building projects. The new debt “will be much less” than the old, Mr. Mummenthey said.
State aid will pay for 80 to 82 percent of the cost.
When C-R outlined the project in January, the rough cost estimate was $18 to $25 million. But architects found additional, necessary work, raising the cost.
And all of it is necessary, Mr. Mummenthey said, because the schools and bus garage have had few if any improvements over 20 years.
“I know it’s sticker-shock,” he said, “and it’s not glamorous work. It’s like taking care of your house. We need to take care of this because it belongs to the community.
“There are no circumstances I can see with the tax levy increasing.”
By building, the costs––still not finalized––are: Radez, $5.8 million; Ryder, $4.5 million; Goldling, $3.2 million; high school, $6.2 million; and bus garage, $4.7 million. Additional costs are for architectural work and contingencies.
Almost all of the work is infrastructure, such as roofs, windows, sidewalks, masonry, parking lots, heating. Highlights include:
––Air conditioning at Radez and the high school, where temperatures sometimes reach 90. “Even if you don’t believe in climate change, most people agree the fall and spring are hotter,” Mr. Mummenthey said.
––Safety and security, including upgraded vestibules and moving the Radez office so that the entrance is more visible.
––Improvements or replacements in curtains, rigging, lighting and sound in the Golding and high school theaters.
––Improvements to the Radez and Ryder cafeterias.
––Converting the large cafeteria near the former Shelter Building into a three-space instructional area for Ryder and Golding students.
––Upgrading the outdoor tracks at the high school and Golding.
––Overhauling the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms at Golding, which are 55 to 60 years old, Mr. Mummenthey said.
––Expanding the bus garage on Elm Street. C-R is negotiating with adjacent property owners to purchase land, Mr. Mummenthey said.
Not included in the project––at least not yet––but much discussed is replacing the natural grass with artificial turf at the high school football/soccer field. (See related story.)
The school board is expected to approve the project at its September 16 meeting, where architects from Mosiac Associates will be on hand to explain the work and answer questions.
Mr. Mummenthey plans a series of public information sessions before the November vote.
“I know we’re on a tight schedule, but this is the opportune time to do this work,” he said.