Board will lead re­view of Meagher ren­o­va­tion

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion will lead the en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view of planned ren­o­va­tions to the for­mer Frank L. Meagher Ele­men­tary School build­ing if the district de­cides to use the site for prekinder­garten classes and/or ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices.

At a board meet­ing Wed­nes­day, district of­fi­cials said the en­vi­sioned work does not re­quire ex­ten­sive stud­ies be­fore putting the pro­posal be­fore vot­ers.

An as­sess­ment of the project con­cludes “there’s min­i­mal to no im­pact, and the re­view can be very mi­nor,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Padalino said.

The school board is re­view­ing pro­posed cost of us­ing the Meagher build­ing for pre-K classes and/ or district of­fices. Con­struc­tion costs are es­ti­mated at $4.2 mil­lion if the build­ing is used for both and $3.4 mil­lion for just of­fices.

If the $4.2 mil­lion project is cho­sen, the district would fund the project with $527,198 in state aid; $1 mil­lion from the an­tic­i­pated sale of the Cioni Build­ing in Up­town Kingston, where the ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices cur­rently are housed; and $2.68 mil­lion from a cap­i­tal re­serve ac­count.

The district al­ter­na­tively could use $882,578 from state Smart Schools bond act money and $2.3 mil­lion from the re­serve ac­count, but that would rule out el­i­gi­bil­ity for state aid.

If the work is lim­ited to ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices, the district would use the es­ti­mated $1 mil­lion pro­ceed from the Cioni sale and $2.3 mil­lion from the cap­i­tal re­serve ac­count.

Board mem­ber Danielle Guido said she was “en­cour­aged that this means that we will be ren­o­vat­ing the class­rooms,” but she added that they “don’t

nec­es­sar­ily need to be used for pre-K . ... We could use them for al­ter­na­tive op­tions . ... Be­cause we’re us­ing our own money to fund pre-K, we would be able to tar­get pop­u­la­tions.”

Trustee Suzanne Jor­dan said ad­min­is­tra­tors are iden­ti­fy­ing spe­cific needs that could be ad­dressed with ad­di­tional class­rooms.

“One of the com­ments that was made tonight ... [was] that we should try to have a bilin­gual class, as well as go­ing after the kids who [qual­ify for] free and re­duced lunch,” she said.

Un­der the plan to de­velop space for stu­dents, there would be four class­rooms, two play­rooms and a story area for up to 76 stu­dents.

Meagher Ele­men­tary School, at 21 Wynkoop Place in Mid­town Kingston, last was used for classes in June 2012. It mea­sures 31,600 square feet and stands on a 3.6-acre prop­erty. The build­ing was opened in 1874 and had ad­di­tions put on in 1917, 1961 and 1996.

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