Projects include new student center, auditorium
A draft plan by a Newburgh architecture and engineering firm outlines $108 million in capital improvements over 15 years that would bring Haldane’s facilities in line with comparable school districts in terms of quality and size.
Haldane’s facilities are “undersized,” with only 148 square feet per student, compared to 205 square feet in similar area schools, said CSArch in a master plan presented on June 20 to the Haldane school board. The company proposes three major capital projects to be put before voters for approval.
The first calls for a new student center with classrooms, offices and a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) lab for the high school, and a STEAM lab for the main building. It would add 18,946 square feet at a cost of $35.7 million and be presented to voters for approval next year.
A 350-seat auditorium and music classroom built at the west end of the high school, and fitness and wellness center at the main building would be part of Phase 2. The additions would total 15,283 square feet and cost $41.7 million, with approval sought in five years.
The final project, at 13,294 square feet and $30.4 million, includes the gymnasium and locker rooms at the high school and expansion of the art gallery in the main building. The master plan calls for approval in 10 years.
After completion, Haldane’s total space would rise to 208 square feet, according to CSArch. Philip Benante, Haldane’s superintendent, said that the district is evaluating the tax impact of the proposed projects. He expects the board to adopt a final plan in the fall.
“I think we have a responsibility to the community to do something,” he said. “We have short-term practical needs that need to be addressed.”
CSArch’s study of the district’s capital needs started in April 2022 and included public hearings and community surveys seeking input on the district’s needs.
The student center would rise two stories at the east end of the high school, and become a place where students could eat lunch, socialize and study. The offices would be used for support services, such as counselors and social workers.
The center’s STEAM lab would, like the one in the main building, be outfitted with computers and 3D printers. In addition to more space, the projects would reduce the frequency at which students have to travel between buildings, said CSArch.
The plan also includes:
- A new multi-purpose synthetic turf field at the Perkins/9D field area.
- Renovations to entry vestibules for improved security.
- Replacement of district-wide communications systems including phone, public-address and clock systems.
- Smaller infrastructure improvements, such as upgraded HVAC systems, restrooms, meeting rooms, roof repairs and window replacements.
- Before moving forward with any improvements, the Haldane school board will need to solicit feedback from the community, said Peggy Clements, the board’s vice president. Because district voters would have to approve financing, the board needs public support, she said.
“The board members are very aware that an increase in taxes would be of concern to the community,” said Clements. “We want to move forward in the most thoughtful and responsible way possible.”