Somers to Hold Special Meeting on Boarding High School Proposal
During the first work session of the new year, Somers Supervisor Rick Morrissey announced last Thursday a special meeting involving the Town Board, Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and the Open Space Committee and any other interested board would be held to continue the discussion on a proposed boarding high school, which would be located on property that formerly housed IBM.
The town board is scheduled to set a date for the special meeting on January 9. The plan is being proposed by Evergreen Ridge LLC for the 723-acre property, owned by 294 Route 100 LLC.
Morrissey said the main topic of discussion at the special meeting would be amendments of the town’s Zoning Ordinance being sought for the land.
The academy would be in IBM’s five interconnected buildings, totaling 1.2 million square feet. The interiors of the existing buildings would be renovated and the proposal calls for the creation of several other facilities, including an arts center, an athletic center, dormitories, a home for the head administrator of the school, several athletic fields, jogging and hiking trails and gardens.
Though the school would be for high school students in grades nine through 12, the school would open in the fall of 2021, with the 11th grade added in 2022 and the 12th grade would be added in 2023.
The school would prepare students for such fields as biomedical engineering and physics, artificial intelligence, computer science and information technology, robotics, aerospace and manufacturing technology. The maximum student enrolment would be 1,800.
About 85 percent of the students would live on campus, with the rest being day students. The school would provide instruction in the STEAM subjects of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and the arts. There would be an estimated 750 students on campus in 2021 and the number of students would rise every year until hitting the maximum of 1,800 students in about 2023. There would ultimately be 125 teachers and administrators and a 110-person support staff.
The annual cost for each boarding student would be $49,000 per school year and $37,000 for day students.
Meanwhile, the Town Board voted unanimously to commit the town to provide $30,572 toward the purchase of a generator for the highway garage and one at the library if the federal government provides a grant of $91,716 to pay for the rest of the cost of the two generators.
Morrissey said if the project goes forward the town’s building department would serve as the project manager to oversee the installation of the generators.
The federal government would provide the grant to New York State, which would pass it on to the town, Morrissey noted.