Liverpool considers $37.9M school renovation, tax hike

The Liverpool Central School District Board of Education is proposing a $37.9 million renovation project that would provide vital security and structural upgrades to its schools.

Phase 2 of the Capital Project would provide a new roof for Liverpool High School, long overdue renovations at Chestnut Hill Elementary and Middle Schools and upgraded security systems to schools across the district.

Liverpool Schools superintendent Mark Potter said that a district-wide audit was performed after the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy, which found a need to provide an increased and consistent level of security in each of the district's 14 schools. The proposal has budgeted $2,560,935 for security upgrades that include signals on all exterior doors, hardware replacements so that classroom doors can be locked from inside, alert buttons that would signal emergency responders and upgraded fire alarm systems.

According to the board, a survey of the Liverpool High School roof revealed nearly 800 holes that needed repair. Phase Two has set $6,654,765 aside for a new 255,315 square foot roof replacement. The new roof would need to be installed over the course of two summers.

The bulk of the budget would go to upgrades to Chestnut Hill Elementary ($12,109,500) and Chestnut Hill Middle School ($16,594,500). Built in 1957, neither school has seen significant renovations since. According to Potter, each still have many of the original fixtures including the furnace and single-pane windows. Both schools are also in need of roof repairs as well.

In order to fund the project, which is not to exceed $37,919,700, taxes would increase by 2.285% beginning in the fall of 2016. That would mean a $59.39 annual increase for a home assessed at $100,000.

The public can vote on the Phase 2 Capital Project on March 20, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Liverpool High School gym.

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