DCS Community Approves Centennial Capital Project

UPDATE – Thursday, December 8 (9:30 p.m.):

Residents of the Duanesburg Central School District approved the district’s proposed $28 million Centennial Capital Project Thursday by a vote of 184-115.  Stay tuned for details on the design phase of the project, which will provide another opportunity for community input.

Residents of the Duanesburg Central School District will head to the polls on Thursday, December 8 to vote on a proposed $28 million Centennial Capital Project that would allow for repairs, renovations and improvements to aging infrastructure throughout the district.

Polls will be open from 1-9 p.m. in the Junior-Senior High School Media Center (Library), which is universally accessible. 

This short video (under 3 minutes) provides a quick explanation of the scope and financing of the proposed capital project:  https://bit.ly/3TWg0Sw 

The district plans to use $6 million from reserves (savings) and finance $22 million to pay for the project. Financial advisors for DCS have projected that there will be no impact to the districts’ tax levy due to the anticipated reimbursement of building aid from NY state, in combination with securing financing at a time when the district is set to finish paying off debt from a previous capital project. The district’s administration, its construction managers at Schoolhouse Construction Services, and its architects at the Ashley McGraw firm have determined a scope that considers inflationary and cost escalation factors.  

The project has been dubbed the “Centennial Capital Project” because it would coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the opening of Delanson High School (1925), and involves the renovation of some of the oldest parts of the district’s facilities.

“Our facilities are beautifully maintained by our team, but at some point, the fiscally responsible thing to do is to upgrade and replace items that show signs of eventually becoming a financial burden to the district and to taxpayers, like aging rooftops, windows and ventilation,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jim Niedermeier said. “This capital project will allow us to address those concerns with a strategic approach that will prioritize the modernization of teaching and learning in our district in every phase of the project.”

The scope of the project was informed by the results of a building condition survey that revealed priority upgrades needed throughout the district. Input was gathered from community surveys and two public forums held in March and June of this year, giving project managers the opportunity to hear directly from various stakeholder groups. 

Dr. Niedermeier hosted a community building walk through in October, providing tours of both the Jr.-Sr. High School and the Elementary School, along with the transportation building, for the public to see areas that would be part of the proposed capital project. The district also held a public information meeting on November 15 for the community to hear a presentation about the scope and financing of the proposed project. That presentation can be viewed on the district’s YouTube page.

The capital project would consist of two phases that would take place over three years, beginning in the spring of 2024. The first phase would tackle critical repairs first and include the replacement of the district’s beloved but aged playground at Duanesburg Elementary School, as well as the replacement of the roof at DES, which is already past warranty.

The second phase would include multiple elements at both campuses and would take place during the spring and summers of 2025 and 2026. At DES, which opened in 1954, major renovations would focus on the third grade wing, the kitchen/cafeteria, and the exterior covering of the building. In the Jr.-Sr. High School, major efforts would focus on the cafeteria, the first and second floors of the oldest section of the building built in 1925, a wing of the building that was built in 1963, and the building’s roof. The bus garage, HVAC systems, safety systems, windows, and doors would also be included in this project.

The Centennial Capital Project requires a simple majority voter approval (more than 50%). Completed absentee ballots can be dropped off in-person to the District Clerk in the Central Office from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 7 or at the voting site on Thursday, December 8 by 5 p.m.