LAKE GEORGE — The possibilities are on the table for the next possible Lake George school capital project.
The district has, at most, $5.3 million to spend, and officials expect to schedule a public vote in December, they said at a public meeting on Thursday.
Garrett Hamlin of Tetra Tech in Albany led the public meeting and explained the beginnings of the capital project.
The district aims to have construction begin in the fall of 2020, but more likely most of it will be in the summer of 2021.
The four “cornerstones,” Hamlin stated, for the project are: safety/security improvements, innovative learning/education enhancements, athletic facilities improvements and capital improvement needs.
Kate DuBois, Lake George’s business manager, said a capital reserve was started about three years ago. To fill the reserve, the district was allowed to use appropriations, surplus fund balances or transfers from other reserves. For the future project, Lake George’s capital project reserve has $1.75 million.
The district has a three-capital project cycle with one waning out every five years. The schedule coincides with the building condition survey mandated by the state every five years — Lake George’s last was in 2015.
A capital project, which started 15 years ago, had a debt service of $3,555,000. The debt service will retire and allow the district to request those funds to go toward its new project.
In total, the district can allocate $5,305,000 toward the project and the state can contribute 10 percent, which is low due to taxpayers in the area being more affluent.
Hamlin also presented the community’s survey results from 176 members. Of those surveys, it shows 22 percent were from junior/senior high school parents, 17 percent from elementary school parents and 15 percent from district taxpayers with no students in Lake George. Other submissions came from staff and alumni.
The results were not prioritized as to which were more common, but Hamlin said safety/security was the most common. Other issues that were listed in both the high school and elementary school were: bathroom upgrades, carpets and accessibility. Some wanted the high school to have better parking, air-conditioning and improved tennis courts, and for the elementary school, athletic locker rooms, exterior bathrooms, improved baseball field drainage and technology were mentioned.
Superintendent Lynne Rutnik said the district has been active in seeing the community’s concerns, but at some point the district needs to move forward to get the project going.
“From the inception of this process,” Rutnik said, “we have met with the principals, the leadership team and our (IT director) and said, ‘How can we keep connecting and reaching out to the community and also our stakeholders?’ Surveys are one step. We are offering these community meetings and a lot of people come to our board meetings and we also decided to keep a district website for the capital project.”
There was also a meeting with coaches to see what athletic needs were requested. The most necessary from the June 12 meeting came down to expanding and improve the tennis courts from three to four (so the tennis team can host matches and the community can better use them), resurface the track and make the weight room accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
From here, the district will determine the scope of the project and narrow the work. There will be Board of Education building and grounds committee meetings on July 25 and Aug. 28 that are commonly at the elementary breakout room at 5:30 or 6 p.m.
There will be a Board of Education meeting on Aug. 14 at the high school library at 7 p.m.
If the project continues smoothly, the district projects to have a presentation and public meeting on Sept. 11 and have the board approve it in October for a December vote.