BH-BL residents approve $34.2 million Renovations Referendum

BH-BL residents approve $34.2 million Renovations Referendum

Highest number of referendum voters in BH-BL history turn out to vote

On Tuesday, Oct. 22, BH-BL residents approved the district’s $34.2 million Renovations Referendum by a vote of 1368 to 653, by a margin of 67.7 percent.

The referendum, which carries a less than 1 percent tax levy increase, will fund 33 projects that were identified as the district’s most urgent needs in the areas of 21st century learning, critical infrastructure & energy conservation, athletics & physical education and safety & security. Additionally, nearly 77 percent of the project will be reimbursed through state building aid.

This referendum proposal yielded the highest number of residents to vote in a district referendum proposal in BH-BL history exceeding the 1,808 vote record with 2,024 ballots cast.

“The overwhelming support for the Renovations Referendum is a reflection of the high value placed on education in the BH-BL community and shows that our residents believe in and support our schools,” said Superintendent Patrick McGrath. “The next few years are going to be very exciting as our schools are transformed into spaces that allow and encourage all of our students to collaborate, communicate, design, create, invent, problem solve and think critically—which are skills that are necessary for students to succeed in college and workplace settings.”

When the project is complete, BH-BL students, staff and residents will benefit from:

  • upgraded classrooms in all schools,
  • the addition of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) wing at the high school,
  • an improved traffic pattern and student drop-off and pick-up area at Stevens Elementary School,
  • improved safety and security through the reconstruction of the main entrances at the middle school and Stevens Elementary School, as well as the addition of security doors in the high school gym lobby,
  • the addition of a multi-purpose artificial turf field wide enough to accommodate four sports–soccer, football, field hockey and lacrosse—and a new 8-lane track,
  • renovated middle school science labs,
  • a black box theater and a modern presentation center in the current red and blue rooms at the high school,
  • a modernized Library Learning Commons at the high school and an upgraded library at Stevens Elementary School,
  • the addition of small, flexible-use teacher-students workspaces in Pashley and Charlton Heights Elementary Schools,
  • and
    many infrastructure and energy conservation projects.

What happens next?

District leaders will work closely with its architects, construction management firm and staff members to draft detailed specifications of the projects and submit them to the State Education Department (SED) for approval. Once approval is granted, the projects will go out for public bidding. The district hopes to secure approval of safety and security projects in time to begin work during the summer of 2014.