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Indian River Central has tight capital project deadline

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PHILADELPHIA — Officials at Indian River Central School District have a lot to work on in the next three months.

Business Manager James R. Koch said the district hopes to have a capital project referendum by December at the latest on a project that spans nearly all of its schools.

However, the project cost and how much state aid it will receive still have to be determined.

“We want to have it before the end of the year,” Mr. Koch said. “We have a very tentative timeline. Right now, we have more questions than answers.”

Although the timeline for the district is tight, he said he hopes he does not have to explain the project to the public after the new year.

“I don’t want to go any later than December because you start getting into budget season,” he said. “You don’t want people to feel overwhelmed.”

The board and the district are considering the following improvements, but Mr. Koch stressed that none has been approved officially:

n Increase space in the high school band room to accommodate 125 students.

n Move the rest of the high school and all of the middle school to geothermal energy.

n Add a 0.8-megawatt solar array near Indian River Intermediate School.

n Add a multipurpose room to the intermediate school.

n Add a synthetic turf field — possibly to the football field — that both the middle school and high school can use.

n Add eight classrooms, expand the cafeteria by 130 seats and increase parking spaces at Evans Mills Primary School.

n Improve security at multiple schools.

n Upgrade or improve any Building Condition Survey items that are necessary.

The district Buildings and Grounds Committee plans to meet Sept. 26 to possibly finalize the project cost. The district also needs to make an appointment with the state Education Department to find out how much state aid can be offered for the project.

Mr. Koch was hesitant to say what he estimates the cost to be.

“That’s what we’re trying to refine — what this is going to cost,” Mr. Koch said. “I’m reluctant to put a price on it at this point.”

The district still owes $29.3 million for the last capital project, which culminated in 2010. A total of $50.6 million is owed from projects dating as far back as 1997. A couple of the bonds were refinanced in 2011.

“Since 1985, we have put up to $184 million in infrastructure on the ground,” Mr. Koch said previously. “And it’s all because of the growth from Fort Drum.”

Housing is what drives this potential capital project. Mr. Koch said he expects a development near Taylor Road to be ready in April and Eagle Ridge’s fifth phase to be done in April. Fort Drum’s Site Four is ready for occupants to move in. A new development wedged between the Eagle Ridge and Taylor Road developments may be considered, as well, creating an additional boom of students at Calcium Primary School.

“Housing is the driving force in what we do, because people will come to the housing,” he said.

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