EducationThe Northern Westchester Examiner

$45.5M Capital Projects Vote Proposed for Croton-Harmon Schools

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Voters in the Croton-Harmon School District will likely be presented with a $45.5 million capital projects’ referendum in December that school officials maintain will not raise taxes.

Plans include $17.5 million in infrastructure work, most of which is related to the age of school buildings. The remaining $28 million would be dedicated to a variety of indoor and outdoor improvements at Croton-Harmon High School, Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School, Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School and the Spencer Field Complex.

The Croton-Harmon Board of Education is expected to authorize the Dec. 13 referendum at its Oct. 20 meeting.

“The capital project addresses our district’s continued focus on safety and security in our schools through the creation of a visitor vestibule at Croton-Harmon High School and installation of new security cameras at each of our schools,” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Denise Harrington-Cohen. “The project also furthers our commitment to health, wellness and environmental sustainability in several ways, including the introduction of new, high efficiency systems, ventilation improvements, roof replacements to allow for further installation of solar panels, and the enhancement of our infrastructure to support additional electric school buses in the future.”

A Future Facilities Planning Team, composed of faculty and staff members, students, community members, administrators and Board of Education representatives, first started grappling with capital projects needs last spring that focused on infrastructure, athletics, the arts, and teaching and learning.

The breakdown of work at each school would be:

Croton-Harmon High School: Renovating the auditorium, cafeteria and music suite; creating an innovative leaning center and STEAM center; and providing air conditioning to the cafeteria, music suite and learning center.

Pierre Van Cortlandt Middle School: Renovating spaces to create a new science classroom and new student services suite; improving outdoor learning space; building a new playing field and playground and fourth-floor conference suite; and providing air conditioning for the student services suite.

Carrie E. Tompkins Elementary School: Creating outdoor amphitheater/classroom space; converting the current library to a research and maker space; renovating the gymnasium; and providing air conditioning for the kindergarten wing and cafeteria.

Spencer Field Complex: Installing artificial turf field, new track, stadium lighting, bleachers, press box, concession stand, scoreboard and restrooms; and improving parking and site access.

“We view this (capital) project to be for the Tigers of today, and tomorrow,” said Superintendent of Schools Stephen Walker.

School officials said the district is in a financial position to proceed with the projects while “maintaining tax-neutrality” for residents since it will be leveraging State Education Department Building Aid, timing the bond financing to align with declining debt, and using funds from the district’s Capital Reserve.

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