Residents of the Cato-Meridian Central School District voted in favor of a $33.1 million capital project proposal on Tuesday, with a vote of 158-60. The project, which aims to improve infrastructure at both the elementary and junior-senior high schools, will not have an additional tax impact on residents. Instead, the total cost will be covered by $26.78 million in anticipated state aid, $1.32 million in retiring debt, and $5 million in the district’s reserve funds.
According to a district newsletter, 52% of the project’s work will focus on the elementary school, at a cost of $17.1 million, while the remaining 48% will be allocated to the junior-senior high school, at a cost of $15.9 million. The proposal includes replacing the district’s entire existing septic system, which is currently in violation of DEC regulations, as well as constructing four of the elementary school’s portico columns.
In addition to these infrastructure improvements, the project also includes the reconstruction of sidewalks, stairs, curbing, guardrails, and handrails at both schools. The elementary school’s kitchen and serving line spaces will be renovated, while the junior-senior high school’s main office, guidance suite, and adjacent lobby will be reconfigured to create a secure main entrance to the building.
Other planned renovations include an extensive overhaul of the elementary school’s auditorium and stage, as well as updates to the elementary gym and locker room spaces. The agriculture and tech spaces, as well as the wood and metal shops at the junior-senior high school, will also be updated to meet current curriculum needs.
The project has been met with support from the community, with many praising the fact that it will not have an additional tax impact on residents. The district is now moving forward with the planning and implementation phases of the project, with work set to begin in the coming months.
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