Saturday, February 28, 2015

November vote set for Albany High renovation, reconstruction

From the Albany (NY) School District:

ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 27, 2015) -- The future of Albany High School is in voters’ hands.

After more than a decade of discussion about how new facilities would best serve students for generations to come, including two years of planning for the current proposal, the City School District of Albany Board of Education voted unanimously Thursday night to let voters decide in November.

The vote will be Nov. 3, in conjunction with the general election. Read the Feb. 27 Times Union for additional coverage. You also can click on the highlighted text to see a Feb. 26 presentation to the school board about the project.

The $199.5 million renovation and reconstruction project would add a second academic wing, a new auditorium and fine-arts center, new outdoor athletic facilities, and a welcome and wellness center accessible to the community. It also would include space for all of Albany High’s career and technical education programs, currently located three blocks away at the Abrookin Career and Technical Center.

Major renovations would include the current academic building and gym, which would be expanded and also would include an indoor running track. The school’s open courtyard would be enclosed to create a common area and glass-paneled atrium.
Plan minimizes tax impact 
Construction would be extended over seven years to maximize state aid and reduce the cost to taxpayers. The district estimates that residents with the basic STAR exemption would pay an extra $40-$80 for homes assessed in the $150,000-$250,000 range. Seniors with the enhanced STAR exemption would see an increase of $29-$66 for homes assessed in the same range.

The district will work hard throughout the spring, summer and fall to educate residents about the project and answer questions from the community.

The new Albany High would include five smaller learning communities specifically designed to meet future program goals. Albany High currently has four smaller learning communities that were retrofitted into the 41-year-old facility three years ago. When it is completed, the project would add 40 percent more space to the current high school, allowing the school to manage increases in student enrollment that are projected over the next decade.

New facilities alone won’t solve the academic challenges many Albany High students encounter, but the project will help staff design better programs to meet the needs of all students, Principal Cecily Wilson-Turner told the board.

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