Students in the Cheektowaga Central School District will be able in coming years to use an upgraded auditorium in the high school, an 8-lane all-weather running track and a new artificial turf field.
The improvements are among many others in a $24.8 million capital project that voters approved 214 to 101 Tuesday.
The project includes upgrades and repairs at all four school buildings – Union East Elementary, Pine Hill Education Center and the middle/high school complex. The district’s last major capital project was in 2002.
Much of the work involves replacing HVAC, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems that are more than two decades old, according to district officials.
But the high school auditorium is also a priority because the ceiling is crumbling, seats are irreparable and original stage rigging and curtains from 1969 are safety concerns, officials said.
Athletic facilities were another priority, with plans to replace the high school’s existing grass field with a new artificial turf field and also its worn-out track.
“Our current track is in such bad shape that officials have warned us that they will not be able to sanction competitions much longer,” officials said in a newsletter to residents.
The bond issue will add about $0.13 per $1,000 assessed valuation to the school tax rate starting in 2018-2019. For a house with a market value of $100,000, that amounts to $12.76 annually. About 60 percent of the cost will be covered by the state.
The district expects approval of its plans from the state Education Department by December 2017, and for construction to begin in spring 2018 and continue through fall 2019.
Interior construction accounts for 48 percent of the spending; exterior construction is 25 percent; athletics is 21 percent; health and safety is 3 percent; and program items are 3 percent.