BOCES program moving out of Carnegie building
Ulster County BOCES Superintendent Charles Khoury expects the P-Tech class will start the week in its new permanent home at the SUNY Ulster satellite campus in the former Sophie Finn Elementary School on Mary’s Avenue.
At Kingston school board meeting last week, Khoury said the relocation of the BOCES program from the old Carnegie Library building on Broadway, now part of the Kingston High School campus, will allow more room for the technology-based education program. “We were running out of space,” he said. “I think we’re getting six classrooms as opposed to four (in the new location), and it offers all the technology. We had technology at Carnegie, but we’ll get a little faster Internet and a little more bandwidth at the community college.”
P-Tech, which has 36 students from Kingston and 15 from five other districts in Dutchess and Ulster counties, is in its third year. The program is intended to provide graduates with a high school diploma and associate’s degree simultaneously.
“Originally, P-Tech was supposed to be for four counties, and still is,” Khoury said. “Obviously, transportation becomes an issue for people who live farther away.”
Khoury said it was important to have the Carnegie building available to start the P-Tech program three years ago.
“We needed a place and the fact that the majority of students were coming from Kingston, it was easy (to) cut transportation costs,” he said. “It made it more cost effective in terms of operations.”
The Kingston Board of Education, in March 2013, approved an $8,433 lease agreement with Ulster County BOCES for use of the building from March 21 to June 30 for visual and performing arts programs, a computer game design class and dance classes. During the 2014-15 academic year, a $98,473 lease of the space was approved for full-time use by BOCES.
School district officials did not comment on future plans for the building. School district Superintendent Paul Padalino was not immediately available for comment Friday.
District residents in February 2009 voted 1,887 to 1,302 to spend $3.58 million to renovate the Carnegie building, which had served as the Kingston City Library from 1904 to 1978, but had been vacant since the library moved to a former elementary school building on Franklin Street. The old library was later renovated and returned to use in September 2011 for high school arts and technology programs until the Ulster County BOCES lease was approved.
Several people objected to the BOCES lease when it was approved in 2014, with parent volunteer Jolyn Safron at the time contending residents had been “betrayed” and board Trustee James Shaughnessy saying he only voted for the lease because it would help pay off district bonds for the renovation.