The Examiner

Chappaqua School Officials Eyeing June 14 for $42.5M Bond Vote

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The Chappaqua Board of Education is contemplating a $42.5 million capital projects referendum for Tuesday, June 14 that will transform existing space at the district’s schools into modern learning centers.

If the bond is presented to voters and approved, the district would convert designated areas in each of the six schools into larger, more flexible spaces that would provide students with the latest in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) education.

Part of the charge to the administration was to include enhancements in all of the schools and upgrade the roughly 40-year-old Chappaqua Public Library for the community at large, something that the proposed bond would accomplish, said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lyn McKay.

“Every child in every building will benefit now and will benefit in the future, McKay said. “It’s a very comprehensive plan.”

The only new construction would be a 10,500-square-foot STEAM center addition at Horace Greeley High School.

Also included in the bond would be a new environmentally friendly synthetic turf playing surface and lights at the high school’s Competition Field, for which the district already has state Education Department (SED) approval, and the side field at Robert E. Bell Middle School. A bathroom would also be included at Competition Field.

Board Vice President Victoria Tipp said she believes the time is right for the district to make the investment to upgrade its facilities so Chappaqua maintains its standing as one of the elite public school districts.

“I feel like we’re all here, all of us, because it’s a great educational experience for our children,” said Trustee Victoria Tipp. “We do have one of the best school districts and that’s what attracts people to Chappaqua. To stay on top you can’t just sit on your laurels. It’s an ambitious program and that’s what this district is about.”

At each of the three elementary schools, the current library would be converted into a global learning center.

Bell Middle School would see the renovation of its science classrooms and its current technology area would be converted into a STEAM center. Seven Bridges Middle School’s unfinished lower level would house that school’s STEAM center.

Plans call for the high school’s L Building to be renovated into an instructional center along with renovation of the global learning center, Classroom K110 and the auditorium.

There would also be a variety of infrastructure upgrades mainly at the middle schools and high school.

Work would be completed incrementally starting next summer and finish by 2019, McKay said.

Chappaqua would be eligible for state aid for 33.6 percent of the cost, provided each of the projects are granted SED approval, said Assistant Superintendent for Business John Chow. With other declining debt and the proposed subdivision of district property the project is forecasted to be tax neutral, he said.

Since the district has to complete state Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) preparations, Chow said there were noticing requirements that prevented scheduling the vote on May 17, the same day as the budget vote and board of education election.

Trustees are expected to decide at their Apr. 13 meeting whether to schedule the vote for June.




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