11/18/2008

Lockport Schools: Capital project

Posted by MJ

(Image: Locust St. Leading to Lincoln and Lockport High School)

from the LUSJ:

http://www.lockportjournal.com/local/local_story_322231505.html

Meetings will be held at 7 p.m.
Wednesday and again Dec. 10, both at the high school auditorium, 250 Lincoln
Ave. Both meetings will include a presentation of the project details and a
question-and-answer session afterward. Residents will vote on the project from
noon until 9 p.m. Dec. 16 at their regular polling places for School Board and
budget elections.

• Proposition 1 includes some larger items, such
as a state-of-the-art performing arts center, art gallery and a fitness center
for gym classes. Smaller items such as new windows and new bleachers and padding
in the gymnasium are also part of the proposition. An elevator would also be
added, and bathrooms would be made handicap-accessible. The technology wing
would also be updated, the library would be renovated to make room for a
computer lab and bathrooms would be added nearby. Other improvements include
relocating the Locust Street bus loop, a parent drop-off site on Lincoln Avenue,
and improvements to ventilators and mechanical systems.The proposition also
includes a six-classroom addition, which covers the classrooms lost by adding
the fitness center, and a new entrance to alleviate some of the congestion in
the hallway. The proposition makes up about $23.5 million of the total
project

• Proposition 2 is the varsity stadium, which includes a
parking expansion, resurfacing of tennis courts and a varsity softball field.
The stadium includes bleachers that seat 2,500, locker room, concession stand
and an artificial turf field, which can be used by a number of school sports
teams. It makes up about $6 million of the
project.

Anyone attending either of the meetings? Thoughts on the project? It of coarse comes with the "no increase to local school tax rates". ;) Has anyone here traveled to neighboring school districts and if so how does Lockport High School compare in facilities? I grew up on the east side of Buffalo and attended a small catholic school (90+ students total!) and then went to Canisius High School so I have no real experience with the schools around here. At my time at Canisius the athletic facilities were rather antiquated but they have since all been upgraded. New pool/gym going up this year. I was content with the facilities but was in awe of some of the ones we traveled to for competitions.I have yet to become a parent, so what do the parents feel about their children's school facilities? Should they be leading edge? Is the cheapest brick and mortar facility more desirable? Where's the happy medium?
Sort of on topic: It's nice that the city and town of Lockport share the same school district as it puts a halt to the flight to the school district right next door. It is nice to see that the city and town residents share at least funding and planning for one of our big service/tax districts.Niagara County school district map:http://www2.census.gov/geo/sd2007_rev/st36_newyork/maps/063_Niagara/SDA0736063_000.pdf

10 comments:

LockportMom said...

I still am trying to figure out how they can state that nothing will come out of the taxpayers pockets. Maybe from school tax, but the money will come from all the other state and federal taxes we pay. While some of these improvements I can agree with, there are others that I just don't get. From my first year stepping foot into the school, I have to agree it is old and does need some improvements
- It definitely needs new windows, as well as sun shades as it gets very hot in there during the daytime hours.
- New lockers.
- Better lighting in stairwells.
- A "work room" specifically for teachers who share classrooms so one teacher is not sitting in room working while another teaches students.

I agree with upgrading the computer and library, as well as making the school handicap accessible. The aud is old and musty, and one of the upgrades they talked about was new lighting and curtains.
I don't agree with adding a stadium. I just don't think the economy can support/sustain this and don't see a lot of new growth coming to the area unless things change.
And the climbing tower? Such a huge liability.

As with all things, I see some "pork" built into these propositions. It is unfortunate that in order to get one thing you have to agree with all.

bookloon55 said...

I hope I can clarify the financial aspect of this project. (I will just use simple round numbers)

30 Million (total project cost)
-26.7 Million (89% from NYS)
- 3 Million (LSCD Capital reserve fund)
.5 million (EXCEL funding)

Net Balance.... ZERO cost to local tax payers.

The money from New York State can only be used for building projects. A No vote for this local project will not lower your state taxes. If we do not take advantage of this money some other community will.

MJ said...

That is kind of the tough call. Even is one community wanted to take a stand against state spending, someone else would take it and the first community would end up with nothing more with really no money saved at the state level.

Not much different than one suburb saying no to sprawl to watch another one take it all while still negatively affecting the region as a whole. Without unified efforts, things can become grab, grab, grab.

If the school needs it, I say go for it. As for things like the artificial sports field I have read articles in the past that show long term savings overcoming the initial costs. It's softer in colder weather, needs no cutting, watering or pesticides, etc. And has come alog way in with technology. I think one of the manufacturer's is in Cheektowaga so it could most likely be a local purchase too.

Here's the company link:
http://www.aturf.com/index.php
Fox News Article on Them and "green" issue:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,329065,00.html

It could also go a long way to student pride. Especially if they are required to volunteer (contradicting, I know ;) to upkeep the areas themselves.

MJ said...

They may also want to create a smoking hut for the students. They look pitiful in the rain and cold huddling by the hedges at Locust and Lincoln every morning. ;)

Sorry for neglecting to spell check above!

LockportMom said...

Smoking is prohibited on school grounds, though it doesn't stop the kids from standing around the corner of the school beyond the buses and grabbing a "quick drag" before getting on the bus. I remember back in the day standing outside the door at school with the teachers smoking (shh don't tell my dad!).

I did look up more info about the artificial turf - thanks for the link. It still is a lot of money. I think the school should have the principle of working "inside - out" and make sure they have what they need that will benefit all students prior to throwing money into athletics. Luckily it has been a few years since the school district has threatened taking away athletics as part of school funding/taxes.

Lkpt Mom said...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I would be very surprised if the state will continue to hand out Excel money. The word around the school districts is that their state aid may be cut mid year. I highly doubt NYS will approve a capitol project unless it's an emergency. Things have changed drastically in the last 2 weeks in Albany. With GM on the verge of bankruptcy and no bail out in sight, this country is in deep trouble. Alot of those GM retirees are right here in Lockport, if they lose their pensions this area will see major economic devastation.

MJ said...

All articles reference:
"Proposition 1 includes some larger items, such as a state-of-the-art performing arts center, art gallery and a fitness center for gym classes. Smaller items such as new windows and new bleachers and padding in the gymnasium are also part of the proposition...."

I may be wrong in assuming "larger projects" as being most capitol heavy but I could be wrong. Maybe if the school district provided public documents with ease I could show the numbers ;)

My main point is to the person who said the school is all about sports and that music and art are forgotten. That's not so. The auditortium and new music rooms in the current project show that.

Anonymous said...

"30 Million (total project cost)
-26.7 Million (89% from NYS)
- 3 Million (LSCD Capital reserve fund)
.5 million (EXCEL funding)

Net Balance.... ZERO cost to local tax payers."

yes, zero cost to "local tax payers"... or at least the "local tax payers" who don't pay state taxes, or lockport school district taxes.

all none of them

'cept the illegals

Xavier said...

Is anyone going to address the 7% increase in School Tax no matter what? Contingency my arse.
How this Board is grabbing as much of a tax increase as they can before Cuomo's limit is enforced after this Budget is voted on?
They took 7% last year - 7% this year, knowing this cap was coming. Instead of listening to them praise themselves, let's see some hard cuts to lower that lousy 7%. Lockport is POOR! We can't sustain another 7% increase. What doesn't this Board understand? Are they all independently wealthy? Do they live outside the District? (Terry Carbone?) How do they justify these increases when everyone else is CUTTING the tax levy because they know the taxpayers are already rolling coin to pay for groceries?
They have an entitlement mentality - they are entitled to whatever they want and we have to pay for it. We are cutting everything we can in our households just to pay the bills we have now. Why do these people think that their self-serving "We are Terrific and saving money and jobs!" (right) is even believable much less good for the kids and the District?
More people will move away - more kids will not have the stuff they need to participate and learn properly - their parents can't afford sneakers much less another 7%. Their parents will lose their homes.
That's really good for the kids isn't it? But if you're a football player you deserve it, too. The Board threatens to cut Librarians - OH NO!! What about their salaries? Kenmore is doing it - teachers all over the Country are doing it. Not Lockport. They lecture the parents who bother to ask questions which they refuse to answer. Nice.

MJ said...

I belive the cap is on growth in the budget, not in the tax rate. Just as the contingency is tied to actual spending.

I guess I commented in the wrong post bringing this one back up in the feed......

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