Meagher pro­posal could go to vot­ers in Fe­bru­ary 2017

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

The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion ex­pects to vote in two weeks on whether to seek voter ap­proval to ren­o­vate the for­mer Meagher Ele­men­tary School build­ing for ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices and whether the work should in­clude class­rooms.

The project was dis­cussed dur­ing a board meet­ing Wed­nes­day at which dis­trict of­fi­cials said they were con­sid­er­ing a Fe­bru­ary ref­er­en­dum on fund­ing.

“We have ... so­licited the ser­vices of CS Arch as our ar­chi­tect,” Su­per­in­ten­dent Paul Padalino said. “... By our next meet­ing, I’ll be able to pro­vide the board with the lan­guage for the ac­tual ref­er­en­dum, as well as what I think would be a good date that we should look at mov­ing for­ward to get con­struc­tion done.”

Board mem­ber James Michael ques­tioned why a pub­lic vote would be held only three months be­fore the an­nual bud­get vote and school board elec­tion in May.

“I think it’s too close to each other,” he said. “The cost of the elec­tions is $30,000.”

Padalino said the ear­lier date would al­low of­fi­cials to put to­gether bid spec­i­fi­ca­tions and be ready for the sum­mer con­struc­tion sea­son.

Con­struc­tion costs are es­ti­mated at $4.2 mil­lion to ren­o­vate the build­ing for both classes and of­fices or $3.3 mil­lion for only of­fice use.

If both the classes and of­fices are in­cluded, the dis­trict would fund the project through $527,198 in state aid, $1 mil­lion from the an­tic­i­pated sale of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing, the Cioni Build­ing, on Crown Street in Up­town Kingston and $2.7 mil­lion from a dis­trict cap­i­tal re­serve ac­count.

An al­ter­na­tive could let the dis­trict use $882,578 from state Smart Schools bond act money and $2.3 mil­lion from the re­serve ac­count, but then the project would not qual­ify for build­ing aid.

If work were lim­ited to ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fices, the dis­trict would use the es­ti­mated $1 mil­lion pro­ceeds from the Cioni Build­ing sale as well as $2.3 mil­lion from the cap­i­tal re­serve ac­count.

Padalino said a re­quest for bids seek­ing buy­ers for the Cioni Build­ing could in­clude pro­vi­sions that the dis­trict would not have to use pro­ceeds of the sale to­ward a lease agree­ment while wait­ing for the work to be done at Meagher, which is on Wynkoop Place in Mid­town Kingston.

“If and when we do de­cide to list the [Cioni] build­ing ... we set the pa­ram­e­ters within what bids are ac­cept­able for the board to ac­cept them,” the su­per­in­ten­dent said. “So if [there’s] a cer­tain amount of time that we need to stay here in this build­ing, at a cer­tain rate, for cer­tain con­sid­er­a­tions, we can write that right in. If peo­ple are in­ter­ested in bid­ding for the build­ing, they do it un­der those terms.”

The school board in Oc-

to­ber 2014 re­jected bids to sell the Cioni Build­ing to ei­ther of two bid­ders amid ob­jec­tions from the pub­lic about lease terms for the

dis­trict to con­tinue us­ing the space while ren­o­va­tions were done at Meagher.

The dis­trict re­cently was told that de­vel­op­ers rep­re­sent­ing Grupo Habita want to buy the Cioni Build­ing for $1 mil­lion and turn it into a 34-room lux­ury ho­tel.

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