by Rick Pezzullo –
Residents in the Dobbs Ferry School District will be heading to the polls on October 22 to weigh in on a $19,977,378 capital project bond referendum that officials maintain will fund necessary building improvements and safety issues without raising property taxes.
“This work is an investment in our children, schools and community,” said Superintendent of Schools, Lisa Brady.
District officials have stated they are “taking advantage of the financial landscape” to update and improve schools. The district plans to use $1.7 million from a Capital Reserve Improvements Fund and finance the remaining cost ($18.27 million) by issuing bonds to maximize state aid. In addition, the district will be retiring debt and taking advantage of low interest rates.
One of the major projects planned is renovating the softball/baseball field at Springhurst Elementary School. Other work slated at Springhurst includes building a new entry vestibule at the main entrance to enhance safety and security, redesigning the Library Media Center to create “a user friendly space that reflects a more contemporary children’s library with flexible seating and collaborative spaces,” and constructing a new sidewalk along the entry drive to ensure students can walk to school safely.
On the high school/middle school campus, air conditioning will be installed in the Performing Arts Auditorium and the sound system, theatrical lighting and stage riggings will be upgraded. Air conditioning will also be added in high school classrooms, while the heating ventilation and air conditioning will be improved in the middle school and the roof will be replaced.
In addition, a new access to the Old Croton Aqueduct from the high school/middle school campus with a secondary path leading to the Aqueduct trail will be created, along with a retaining wall.
The improvements were evaluated and developed by the facilities committee of the Board of Education, consulting architects and engineers, and the Board of Education during a year-long process.
If approved, the design phase for the projects will occur between November and spring, 2020. The design proposal will then be submitted to the New York State Education Department in the spring with an expected approval in December 2020. Bidding and awarding of contracts for the projects is planned in early 2021 and construction is anticipated to run from the spring, 2021, through the fall of 2022.
Voting will take place on Tuesday, October 22 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Two community forums on the referendum have been scheduled for Wednesday, October 2 at 7 p.m. in the high school/middle school Library Media Center and Tuesday, October 8 at 8:40 a.m. in the cafeteria at Springhurst.
All Dobbs Ferry residents who are registered with the Westchester County Board of Elections are eligible to vote. Anyone not registered can register on Thursday, October 10 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the high school gymnasium lobby.