By Matt Cuartero
For quite some time, Batavia High School athletes on and off the field have been conversing about whether Batavia High School’s facilities will receive a new upgrade. Will BHS install synthetic turf fields? Will the track will be expanded to 8 lanes? Those rumors may become true as the community will vote for the alternate revenue bond on the Nov. 4 ballot. If Batavia voters approve it, Batavia Public Schools will receive $15 million dollars in revenue bonds for the funding of the Capital Improvement Plan projects. This Capital Improvement Plan is an ongoing project to renovate Batavia Public Schools and their properties, to further improve education and extracurricular activities in Batavia Public Schools for the bettering of the students and teachers.
¨Every year, we budget 1.5 million dollars for operating costs in Batavia Public Schools for any project we need to do – roof leaks, air conditioners, anything¨ said David Andrews, Batavia High School’s Athletic Director and Vice Principal of Operations. ¨For example, in the C wing, students often see workers maintaining air conditioners in that area, concrete repair, and painting. There is always a ton of work needed.”
If the Nov. 4 referendum is approved, that maintenance and renovation budget will drastically increase. The plan will use what is known as the alternate revenue bond, which works like this: if the community votes yes to the plan, Batavia Public Schools receives $15 million in funds for the Capital Improvement Plan projects. A bond is basically an IOU to receive money and pay it back slowly. The $1.5 million budget Batavia has will be used to pay off the alternate revenue bond. BPS will use the $15 million dollars to update and renovate every public school in Batavia, although much of the concentration will be on Batavia High School. The high school specifically may get a new track, two synthetic turf fields for general use, updates to the JV and Varsity Softball Field, and renovations to the JV Baseball Field.
¨What the bond allows us to do is to finish a lot of projects in a short amount of time, under the 2014 economy,¨ Andrews said. ¨Getting these projects done quicker will actually save us money, and because we are using the budget, our taxes will not increase. In 10-15 years, there will be inflation, material costs, and the fact that the work is strung out will be ineffective, so this is the way to go.¨ The Alternate Revenue Bond saves us money because of the lack of inflation costs in the time frame of two years; our updates and projects will be expedited which will be cheaper in terms of time, money, and labor costs.
The changes in the other schools such as RMS and the grade schools are specifically set for the building needs. For example, HC Storm needs a roof replacement and an air handling unit repair.
¨November 4th will be the vote on the ballot.¨ Andrews said. ¨Just as if you were voting for a congressman, the community will vote yes or no for this plan. That evening, we will know if we get it approved, or not. The good thing is, if we do get approved, we are in good shape. We can move forward with the projects quickly. If the community votes no, we will still continue with the projects, wherever the priority is around Batavia, we will still operate, but under our $1.5 million dollar budget. No matter what, we will keep the projects going and continue to improve the school district.¨
Take a look at the attached link for more information and a detailed copy of the Capital Improvement Project list with each proposed project: http://www.bps101.net/sites/default/files/Capital%20Project%20List_Sept_24_2014.pdf