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Jun 25, 2018
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District NEWS

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December 11, 2012

Preparing for October 2013 vote

School district begins work to prioritize facilities needs

 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district residents and staff are invited to participate in the process of identifying the district's most important infrastructure needs over the coming year.

The process is expected to conclude with a public renovations referendum in October 2013, and work has already begun on several fronts to collect information related to this multi-faceted topic.

A preliminary "Critical Renovations Needs" committee is collecting ideas from staff on how existing school infrastructure could be altered to better accommodate advances in education technology and 21st century teaching and learning.

Two presentations related to the renovations process are taking place this week, and a district-wide renovations study committee will be formed in January.

Reports this week to the Board of Education

At their business meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 pm in the high school library, the Board of Education will hear a report on strengths and weaknesses in the district's current Information Technology systems.

Dave Versocki from the BOCES Northeastern Regional Information Center (NERIC) will present an analysis of specific areas of technology that relate to instruction, costs, and school infrastructure. A copy of his report will also be shared publicly.

His review will cover the district's wide area network (WAN), local area network (LAN), communication tools including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), building security, internet security and filters, technology staffing and support, email program, hardware and software procurement, office automation opportunities, and some design considerations related to using technology in 21st century classrooms.

In October the district also put out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for architectural services, and by January the Board of Education expects to select a firm that will work with BH-BL over the coming year to identify infrastructure needs and solutions.

Twelve firms submitted proposals to the district, and the top four of these firms have been invited to make presentations to the Board of Education at a special meeting on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7:00 pm in the middle school library.

Ashley McGraw Architects, CS Arch Architecture, Mosaic Associates, and Tetra Tech Architects & Engineers will each make a 20-minute presentation to the Board of Education and answer questions from board members. The school board is expected to make a formal decision on which firm to hire at their next regular business meeting on January 8.

Community Committee to be formed in January

As it has done every five to six years since 1978, the Board of Education will also shortly be forming a second committee to study major construction, renovation and maintenance needs district-wide.

This "Community Renovations Input & Review Committee" is expected to begin meeting toward the end of January as soon as its members can be appointed by the school board.

The plan calls for a committee of 28 people, half staff and half non-staff, as shown on the right. The committee is designed to represent a cross-section of the community and school district.

Staff members who are interested in serving on the committee should contact their union president. Interested non-staff can speak to their PTA president about becoming a PTA representative.

Five non-staff community at large members are also needed. Persons interested in these positions should send a letter to the Board of Education in care of superintendent Patrick McGrath describing their connections with the BH-BL schools and why they are interested in being part of this committee. The letters should be received by the BH-BL Schools, 50 Cypress Drive, Glenville, NY 12302 by January 11, 2013.

The new committee is expected to meet from later January until June at a mutually agreed upon time after school hours. For instance, a previous renovations committee met from 4:30 - 6:30 pm.

Much more information about the overall process and both committees is contained in the district document called "Committees to Study Major Renovation & Construction Needs: 2012 - 2017."

Instructional as well as maintenance issues to be addressed

The scope of a 2013 renovations referendum could turn out to be much broader than BH-BL's previous five-year renovations plans.

"The five-year renovation cycles have been cost-effective and have protected the community's investment in its schools," says McGrath. "But they have mostly addressed routine maintenance and energy conservation issues, rather than promoting a larger dialogue about ways in which school infrastructure might be enhanced to improve learning."

"The district's centennial is coming up in 2015," he notes, "so this is a natural time to think about how 21st century learning has changed and whether our schools' physical plant ought to change in some ways as well. A new referendum in 2013 could allow us to start building our second century. I'm excited about the opportunities here and about engaging the community to help us with this over the coming months."