Hyde Park capital project would repair high school, improve all schools

At Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, it’s not unusual for a bucket to be placed in a hallway or classroom to collect water on a rainy day.

The school’s auditorium has missing and damaged seats where replacement parts can no longer be located.

At Ralph R. Smith Elementary School, a bus loop has parents and bus drivers frustrated due to a lack of designated bus and parent drop-off areas causing congestion.

These are some of the issues the Hyde Park Central School District is looking to remediate with a $35.7 million capital project.

Residents will cast their votes for the project on Feb. 22 at Haviland Middle School.

District officials say the project will receive partial funding from the state and would not result in raising taxes.

Elliot Sheldon, Director of Facilities & Operations for the Hyde Park Central School District on the roof at FDR High School in Staatsburg on February 1, 2022.

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Director of Facilities and Operation Elliot Sheldon said the upgrades are necessary and would become part of a future general budget proposal if the capital project does not pass. In that event, he said the improvements would not receive state aid.

The goal is to have the work completed by the end of 2023, he said.

Worn out seating in the auditorium at FDR High School in Staatsburg on February 1, 2022. As part of Hyde Park Central School District's capital plan, the auditorium would get new seating, lighting and ADA accessibility.

The district estimates it will receive more than $28 million in state aid for the project and the roughly $15.3 million in interest incurred from borrowing around $32.4 million. The district plans to use $3.3 million from its capital reserve.

In a presentation to the board, School Business Manager Linda Steinburg noted the borrowing would not increase taxes, as the district has already been paying off funds borrowed from a previous capital project that was passed in 2018.

“For several years the district has set aside funds for the inevitability of such maintenance,” Superintendent Aviva Kafka said in a letter to the community. “These reserves will fund a significant portion of the improvements, as well as money that will be borrowed and paid through state aid.”

What is being proposed?

The entrance to FDR High School in Staatsburg on February 1, 2022. As part of Hyde Park School District's capital plan, a new security vestibule would be built.

The district is proposing upgrades to each building, including safety vestibules at each school with a remote kiosk at the entrance of elementary schools for guests to check-in. It is also proposing HVAC upgrades in some schools, replacement of the high school’s turf field and track, and roofing upgrades.

Details include:

Roosevelt High School: $16,511,940

The high school would receive the most attention. In addition to the athletic fields, an upgrade to its auditorium is estimated at nearly two million and a new roof would cost more than $4 million.

Roof material patches at FDR High School in Staatsburg on February 1, 2022. As part of Hyde Park School District's capital plan, the roof would be replaced.

Sheldon said the 12-year-old roof has been patched many times, but has reached the end of its lifespan. Patch billow with water and leak down into the building.

Sheldon said the athletic field was done roughly nine years ago has a 10-to-12-year life span. He said if the track and field are not replaced soon it may result in damage to the foundation down the line.

Sheldon said the auditorium would receive new seating and lighting; its stage would be altered to become ADA Accessible.

The building is also slated to receive upgrades to the entrance of the building and HVAC upgrades.

Haviland Middle School: $2,646,566

The middle school is slated to get an upgraded auditorium and new flooring in its kitchen.

North Park Elementary: $199,786

North Park would have the least amount of work done, with just the new security vestibule put at its entrance.

Ralph R Smith Elementary school in Hyde Park on February 1, 2022. As part of the Hyde Park Central School District capital plan, the school's driveway and student drop off area would be redesigned and rebuilt.

Ralph R Smith Elementary: $4,755,510

The building would receive a roughly $3 million bus loop that officials say would solve congestion and traffic issues at both pick-up and drop-off. Sheldon said the traffic is a safety concern with both parents and buses coming into the same area.

“Currently, the buses in the morning and the afternoon have to come in three different tiers to pick the students up and drop-off, so with the new design all the buses and all the students would go to and from the buses at the same time,” Sheldon said. “The parent drop off will be modified so that it’s more efficient, so we will keep the buses and the parents separated.”

Netherwood Elementary: $2,030,958

The building is in need of a new well that is expected to cost $1.2 million.

Violet Avenue Elementary: $7,211,842

The school is in need of a $4.7 million water tank and replacement of its HVAC system. Additionally, it would get a stair lift at its entrance.

Hyde Park Elementary: $1,088,666

The elementary school is in need of a replacement to part of its roof and a new well tank.

Administrative Building: $1,271,784

The district’s headquarters are in need of a new septic system.

Where to vote

Hyde Park district residents can vote on the capital project at Haviland Middle School auditorium on Feb. 22 anytime from 9 am to 9 pm A snow date is scheduled for Feb. 24.

Katelyn Cordero is the education reporter for the Poughkeepsie Journal: [email protected]; Twitter: @KatelynCordero.

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