By JIMMY LAWTON
POTSDAM -- Voters will determine the fate of a proposed $350,000 project to reconfigure the former daycare building at Potsdam Central School to meet the needs of special needs students.
The vote is set for July 22.
PCS Board of Education held a public hearing Tuesday where Superintendent Patrick Brady shared a presentation on the proposal to repurpose the 4,900 square foot building for St. Lawrence-Lewis County BOCES Applied Behavioral Analysis program, which serves autistic students.
Brady says there will be no local tax impact on the community. He said 83 percent of the cost of the project will be paid by state aid and the additional $59,500 or 17 percent will be paid for by the BOCES.
He said NYS Education Department P-12 Office of Special Education has also approved the plan, which includes establishing special educational classrooms, interior design, windows, office space and bathrooms.
Brady said the project includes roof and siding replacement as well as energy efficiency upgrades to include window repairs, and improvements to heating, air conditioning and lighting.
Brady said the district has a long history of leasing facility space to the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES for their special education programs. He said that in the spring of 2013 the District and the St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES began communications to use the building to serve students with autism.
In 1993 the Potsdam Central School District entered into a ten-year lease with the Potsdam Daycare Center to provide one acre of land to build a daycare facility. The agreement included a provision for the building to be transferred to district ownership upon completion of the lease and a renewable clause to allow for a second ten-year lease in the future. In 2004 the district agreed to a new and final ten-year lease agreement with the successor Building Blocks Daycare Center.
In 2013 the second ten-year lease between the District and the Building Blocks Daycare Center expired and the building became property of the district.
If approved by referendum, the project design phase would begin immediately following the vote. In October, the project would be reviewed by the New York State Education Department.
Construction would begin in May of 2015 with completion expected by October.