Weekly Feature

2015-05-13 / Front Page

Capital projects included on ballot

Williamsville schools
by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

In addition to the proposed budget and School Board candidates, voters in the Williamsville district will be asked on Tuesday to consider three propositions dealing with capital improvement projects.

The first proposition, the 2015 Facility Improvement Project, targets updates at all 13 schools, such as addressing health and safety issues, and improving access for individuals with disabilities as well as modernizing some middle school science classrooms.

Specific updates include renovating the school auditoriums at Dodge and Forest elementary schools, replacing windows and doors at Heim Middle School, and a partial roof replacement at Mill Middle School. The overall cost of the project is about $23 million.

The funding plan for the proposition results in no additional tax impact for homeowners. Voter approved capital reserve funds and budgetary appropriations will support the project, which also qualifies for state building aid reimbursement of 71.2 percent.

The second proposition, the Athletic Field Improvement Project, will ask voters to consider a list of improvements, including the installation of synthetic turf fields at each high school. The turf fields would accommodate multiple team sports, including soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, baseball and football.

According to the district, the installation of the turf fields, among other renovations, would amount to a $22.4 million project. However, there would be no increase in taxes due to a combination of state aid and voter-approved capital reserve funds.

Superintendent Scott Martzloff said the improvements will extend playing time for student athletes and support the physical education program for all high school students.

The second athletic proposition, Athletic Field Enhancements, is estimated at $4.6 million and would add restrooms at all three athletic complexes, as well as concessions and lights at East and North high schools.

Martzloff said that if approved, this proposition would result in a slight tax increase for residents, estimated to be $9.60 annually for a home assessed at $200,000.

The scope of the fields and lights that are planned for installation at East were recently the subject of public concerns.

During the previous couple of months, Martzloff has met with select members of the community who represent Chasewood Lane and Britannia Drive, streets that border East High School.

Following a third meeting with community members on April 22, Martzloff said the district altered the project, moving the footprint of the field plan 40 feet away from the southside property line and constructing a berm with trees and other vegetation along the same property line.

The original field layout was to be within 6 feet of the property line of neighboring homeowners.

In addition, the district created a draft operational plan for the athletic fields, which would initiate policies on field use for district teams and outside organizations.

The plan also states that a parking policy will be developed for each school site in an effort to alleviate any potential overflow problems and allow for appropriate access for emergency vehicles.

While a few residents during the district’s budget hearing on Thursday still said they were not in favor of East’s addition of stadium lights, which will be 60 to 70 feet in height, Martzloff said lighting technology has reduced the amount of ambient light intruding upon the surrounding community.

“The technology of lighting has improved over the years to the point that it can really be focused on one specific area,” he said. “We do respect the residents’ choice if they don’t want lights. It’s really up to the community at this point in time.”

To view full details of each of the capital improvement project propositions, visit the district’s website at www.williamsvil lek12.org.

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