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Two attend public hearing on PCS capital project

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POTSDAM - Two members of the public attended a hearing this week on the proposed $350,000 capital project at the former Building Blocks Day Care building on the campus of Potsdam Central School.

Superintendent Patrick H. Brady noted the project will have no impact on the district’s taxpayers, explaining that 83 percent of the project will be paid for with building aid from the state of New York.

The remaining 17 percent local share, $59,500, will be paid by St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES, who will be leasing the building upon the project’s completion.

“This has no impact on the local district, and I think it is a great use of the building,” Mr. Brady said, noting the district has a long history of leasing space to BOCES.

“We have a long history of leasing space to BOCES,” he said. “On any given day you will find 14 schools dropping off students at our buildings for their programs.”

Once renovations are complete, the former day care building will house an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program for children with autism, who will also use other district facilities such as the high school’s wood shop, cafeteria and adaptive physical education room. The former day care building will house two, 6-1-1 classrooms.

“It is a space that was used as a day care for 20 years so it does need some revitalization,” Mr. Brady said explaining work to be done includes re-finishing the walls, making flooring repairs, roof repairs, the installation of drop ceilings to help improve energy efficiency in the building, repairs to the building’s windows and siding, security improvements, lighting upgrades and the extension of the district’s wireless network to the building.

Voting on the project will be held from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on July 22 in the high school cafeteria, which Mr. Brady noted is a different polling place than normal.

“Normally it’s in the auditorium, but our auditorium is under construction until October, so we’ll be voting in the high school cafeteria.

During the hearing, Mr. Brady spoke briefly about the history of the property, noting the district entered into a 10-year lease with what was then the Potsdam Day Care in 1993.

At the end of that lease, the district entered into another 10-year lease, this time with Building Blocks Day Care. At the conclusion of that lease in 2013, the district then took ownership of the building.

Mr. Brady said the district briefly considered moving its central administration offices into that building, but ultimately decided to keep their offices houses in actual school buildings.

He said the district was unable to identify other uses for the building.

“We were not able to identify any programs that could go into a standalone building,” he said.

Should the project be approved by voters later this month, Mr. Brady said the project will immediately enter the design phase with bidding anticipated for next spring and construction possible by May or June 2015.

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