Meagher proposal could go to voters in February 2017
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.