Capital projects at MCSD

MILLBROOK — Millbrook Central School District (MCSD) Superintendent Caroline Hernandez Pidala has been traveling the district holding information sessions, explaining the capital project that the district Board of Education is set to vote on Tuesday, May 21, alongside the approval of the district budget.

The project, the first large-scale capital improvement project undertaken since Millbrook High School was built in 2006, was initiated in 2021 by the MCSD administration and brought to the attention of the Board of Education at that time.

Some improvements were made in 2013: the athletic fields were renovated, and partial HVAC upgrades were executed at Elm Drive and Alden schools. Apart from these details, some window replacements and some roof repairs conducted along the way, the majority of the district buildings and systems are largely the same as when they were constructed many years ago.

Hernandez Pidala pointed out water damage created by roofs leaks, and damage and wear and tear on heating and plumbing infrastructure. Currently there is no Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant accessibility from the auditorium to the cafeteria or the technology level in the Millbrook Middle School (MMS).

The proposed improvements would necessitate an increase in property taxes, but the scale of the increase depends on which projects the District votes to take on.

Work would be executed in separate propositions, each of which will be voted on separately, said Hernandez Pidala.

Proposition 2, which totals an estimated $55,356,016, includes the replacement of the roof and the installation of solar panels at Millbrook Middle School (MMS); heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) controls in all buildings; the replacement of single-paned windows; the replacement of the boilers, which would include steam-to-hot-water conversion and dual fuel considerations. This last, considered Energy Performance Contract work, would be at neutral cost to taxpayers, said Hernandez Pidala.

Proposition 3, which comes to an estimated $15,664,342, concerns the enhancement of spaces that enable different kinds of programming, like technology labs, occupational training facilities, and a “makerspace”; renovations of the library media center and science classrooms and labs; improvements to the auditorium including lighting and sound upgrades and the improvement of the ventilation in the weight room; and improvements concerning accessibility — ADA-compliant-elevators and a new chair lift from the auditorium level — as well as fire alarm upgrades and, potentially, a walk-in freezer for the school food service’s main kitchen.

Proposition 4, coming in at $6,551,234, includes wall repair at Elm Drive Elementary and, at the middle school, the construction of a greenhouse, “large group instructional space,” and new science lab.

The administration included a Deferred Project Scope, which are projects that were considered and have been designated for deferment and consideration in a future referendum vote. These include traffic augmentations to Elm Drive and Alden Place with a new traffic circle and EV charging station ($6,616,668); Elm Drive office and classroom configuration ($2,903,665); new cafeteria and main office relocation, kitchen renovation and related work at Alden Place ($4,756,469). The estimated cost of the deferred work is $14,276,502.

The administration worked with BBS Architects and Engineers, The Palumbo Group, Trane Technologies and Bernard P. Donegan Inc. in the planning and design of the capital improvements.

Voting will take place Tuesday, May 21, from noon to 9 p.m. in the MMS auditorium. The capital project proposals can be found under the Capital Project tab on the MCSD website at millbrookcsd.org

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