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Potsdam school board sets Dec. 12 capital project vote

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POTSDAM — Potsdam Central School District voters will head to the polls Dec. 12 to cast their ballots for a proposed $18 million capital project that in part would address lighting and heating inefficiencies.

Board members this week approved the vote date, as well as the scope of the project.

“A major focus of this project is going to be on work that will allow the district to save money over time. Certainly heating and electrical are a big part of that plan. That would include better insulation and upgrading our heating units and our lighting. This is particularly important as resources become more scarce,” Superintendent Patrick H. Brady said.

The committee looked at areas where the district could improve efficiencies in lighting and heating, he said.

“Last year we formed a Cost Savings Committee to look at all areas where we could improve our efficiency and reduce certain costs. Now that we’re entering into a capital project, we’re putting some of those ideas into place. We’re working with NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and our architect to get the best payback for the investment that will be made by the community in this project,” he said.

Voters will get to decide if the project moves forward during the Dec. 12 vote.

“Now that the board has voted to move forward with the scope and set the referendum date, we’ll now be setting up some public hearings and doing an information campaign so the community understands what the project is all about and why it’s needed and why this is the best time to have this project. Those are very key areas for them to understand,” Mr. Brady said.

The district receives 86.1 percent in building aid, meaning the local share would be approximately 14 percent, according to the superintendent.

“That’s approximately where we were in our last capital project,” he said. “We are trying to stay within our means.”

If voters approve the project in December, the district’s architects will begin work on the design phase, which will take place through much of 2013 under the current timeline.

The project would be sent to the state Education Department for review in the fall of 2013, with contracts awarded in March 2014. Construction could begin in April 2014.

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