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Randolph School Board airs ideas for capital projects

RANDOLPH – It’s been five years since the Randolph Central School District completed its last capital project.

Ideas for future projects were bandied about at Wednesday night’s Board of Education meeting, which was more of a workshop with representatives of Campus Construction Management.

One project that stood out was changing the traffic flow in the parking lot, which could involve removing the existing bus garage and building a new one in a new location, according to board member Julie Milliman.

“This would be a better campus without the bus garage right in the middle of it,” said Superintendent Kim Moritz.

The idea is not new. It was voted down a few years ago when it was proposed to rebuild the garage on property owned by the district on Weeden Road.

Board members said the garage creates an unsafe environment for students and visitors. It also is not up to standard with the buses in use by school districts today. Many buses are longer, as well as taller, than when the garage was built in the late 1950s.

“I have never received such nasty comments and threats as I did when that was happening,” Milliman said of the vote. “But this is something we need to revisit. It is something we need to look at from a safety aspect. It is the No. 1 thing we can do to make our school a better place and safer for our students.”

Another proposal would take a look at the athletic fields in the district. The district is considering replacing the grass football field with artificial turf, as well as completing the softball dugouts and relocating off-campus fields back to property owned by the district, such as the baseball and soccer fields.

The fields proposal also would include more and better lighting for the football field area and a stairway leading from the top of the hill to the lower area that is used as a football practice field.

On the educational front, as e-learning grows, the district can see a time when students will need to be able to access online classes to continue to challenge themselves, Moritz said. To do this, a look at the technological needs of the district would be in order.

Another idea would see the creation of a community day care facility that would offer some educational and intervention services for prekindergarten children.

Several of the projects would create a need for increased tax revenue for the district. Moritz pointed out that there has been a zero percent increase in taxes for the last five years but acknowledged that is something that is not sustainable.

Moritz noted that normal maintenance and repairs will always be an expense, pointing to needed boiler repairs and roof repairs on the large gym.

“It is these things that got the conversation going,” she said. “We need to take care of what we have. We are very conscious of our needs.”

Moritz said it also is important the taxpayers keep in mind that the ideas being thrown around at this stage are not set in stone, nor are they guaranteed to happen.

“This is just a brainstorming session to get the ideas out,” she said. “There are a lot of different ideas, and this is a chance for the board to talk about ideas and what the school needs.”