Tarrytown School Officials Talk Building, Fields Needs

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The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns will need to address some building and field issues, Superintendent Howard Smith said. Photo Credit: Meredith Shamburger

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – School officials at the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns want to begin preliminary discussions about a possible bond proposition after identifying more than $8 million worth of building and field maintenance issues.

“It's a starting point,” Superintendent Howard Smith said.

Smith discussed what needs to be done during Thursday's Board of Education meeting. Officials previously had set up buildings and fields committees to evaluate potential needs throughout the district. The committees included administrators, trustees and community representatives.

Officials say the maximum cost of the project would be offset by an estimated 30 percent state aid. Any bond project would be financed by borrowing over 15 years, with a tax levy increase of about one percent. The annual maintenance budget would be increased by $100,000 per year.

Among the identified maintenance issues are paving, roofing, bathrooms, boilers, masonry, fencing and building management systems. About $270,000 of the improvements are eligible for an energy grant. Smith also recommended some of the needed fixes be included in the district's annual maintenance budget, not put out for bond, because the district can complete the projects with its own labor. Several capital projects totaling about $6 million should be considered for bonding, Smith said.

“All of these are issues that just built up over time,” Smith said.

Smith also highlighted needs on several athletic fields, including new artificial turf at the high school and new irrigation systems for fields at Washington Irving Intermediate Schools.

The district should consult with parents and community members about how they want to improve the fields, Smith said, especially because many community organizations use the school district's athletic fields. He said a movement is in place to pay for some improvements at Washington Irving with private donations.

School officials plan to start talking with community members about any potential bond projects soon, although a public vote would probably not occur until December at the earliest. School Board President B. Joseph Lillis said he was confident the district could work with the community.

“I'm optimistic that we can make a case,” he said.

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