Voters OK school repairs

Mary Perham

Renovations to the Hammondsport Central School main campus could begin as early as next spring, with voters approving Tuesday a $7.7 million repair project by a 146 to 93 margin.

“The work is going to have to wait another year, but we’re very excited,” school Superintendent Kyle Bower said. “We want to get the facility in the shape that it will be an asset to the community, to Hammondsport for a long time.”

The community has been active from the beginning, with a building committee of 26 drawing up the plans and promoting the project – an important factor in Tuesday’s vote, Bower said.

“They were phenomenal, they did a great job,” he said.

Planned repairs are needed to bring the 53-year-old building into compliance with the state Education Department’s recommendations, and include fixing most of the roof, replacing parts of the original water and electrical systems and paving.

Other projects include making public restrooms accessible to handicapped people, removing asbestos tiles, replacing unsafe windows and doors, and upgrading technology infrastructure.

The district will use $1 million from its capital reserves, with taxes going up slightly. State building aid at this year’s level of 57 percent is expected to pick the remainder of the construction costs.

“The state has never gone back and changed the funding,” Bower said. “There’s no uncertainty about that.”

The school also provided exit surveys to get more input on the project.

“There was a great response to those,” Bower said. “We’ll be reading through those, to get the positives and the negatives.”