Beacon School District Sets Referendum on Capital Project

Plans address maintenance and educational needs at all six schools

Voters in the Beacon City School District will be asked on Oct. 26 to approve a $26 million capital project that school system officials say will upgrade all six district schools without triggering a tax increase. 

The Beacon school board approved the plans and set the voter referendum during a meeting on Wednesday (Sept. 8). 

The plans range from the upgrade and modernization of the television/multimedia studio, science labs and art classrooms at Beacon High School and Rombout Middle School to playground upgrades at South Avenue and J.V. Forrestal elementary schools. 

If approved, Glenham Elementary would have a secure, double-door front entrance installed and the library and media center at Sargent Elementary would be moved into the main hallway. 

The plans also address maintenance needs such as roof repairs at the high school and middle school, new boilers at three elementary schools and ventilation upgrades at four schools. 

Proposed Projects

Beacon school district voters will be asked next month to approve a $26 million capital plan including these improvements:

Beacon High School 

  • Roof repairs 
  • Science lab upgrades
  • TV/multimedia studio upgrades
  • Track renovations 
  • Pool finish work
  • Fitness center upgrades 
  • Emergency lighting installation

Rombout Middle School 

  • Two science classroom/lab upgrades 
  • Two art classroom upgrades 
  • Roof repairs 
  • Ceilings in corridors 
  • Parent drop-off/bus loop improvements
  • Electrical work 
  • Ventilation 

J.V. Forrestal Elementary 

  • Playground upgrades 
  • Corridor windows on lower floor 
  • New boiler 
  • Lighting interior hallways 
  • Unit ventilators 
  • Parking paving 
  • Accessibility upgrades 

Glenham Elementary 

  • Installing a secure double-door front entrance 
  • Parking lot and front loop paving and redesign 
  • Classroom improvements 
  • Unit ventilators 
  • New boiler 
  • Accessibility upgrades 
  • Septic improvements 

Sargent Elementary 

  • New library/media center in main hallway 
  • Accessibility upgrades 
  • New boiler  
  • New lighting in corridors 

South Avenue Elementary

  • Upgrades to playground and play fields behind school 
  • Paving front of school 
  • Emergency lighting 
  • Ventilation

Building committees made up of teachers, parents and district officials created capital improvement wish lists at each school earlier this year. From there, district architects designed a plan that, if approved by voters, will be implemented over the next three years. 

On Wednesday, school board members touted the impact the in-school improvements will have on students’ educational experiences. 

“That library and media space [at Sargent] will create this majestic entrance, a really wonderful way for kids to enter that space,” said Kristan Flynn, who is on the board’s facilities and operations committee. “Each place is a combination of practicality and joy in education. It will make a big difference in how students experience being inside the buildings.”

It’s particularly important, she said, to create “spaces that kids want to return to each day” as students recover from the effects of the pandemic. 

Superintendent Matt Landahl said that because the district has paid off some of its outstanding debt, the new projects could be funded without an across-the-board tax increase. If approved, the district will utilize bond funding for the majority of the cost ($24.4 million) while pulling $1 million from a capital reserve fund and $600,000 from savings. 

New York State also gives districts financial aid on debt payments, so it makes sense to address the capital needs now, Landahl said. The district may set aside money in its budget each year to pay for smaller interim projects while it makes payments on this debt.

The next steps include a series of Zoom and in-person meetings to share the plans with the community. A public hearing will also be held during a school board meeting prior to the vote. 

Click to hear this post.

Leave a Reply

The Current welcomes comments on its coverage and local issues. Submissions are selected by the editor to provide a variety of opinions and voices, and all are subject to editing for accuracy, clarity and length. We ask that writers remain civil and avoid personal attacks. Submissions must include your first and last name (no pseudonyms), as well as a valid email address (which will not be published). Please allow up to 24 hours for an approved submission to be posted. All online comments may also appear in print.