The Cairo-Durham Central School District is looking to the future with its proposed capital improvement project. If approved by voters, the project would bring 21st century enhancements to the District’s academic programs, facilities, security and more.
Voting will take place on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, from 1 to 9 p.m. in the Cairo-Durham Middle School cafeteria. Due to the vote, Grades 6-12 will dismiss early at 11:45 a.m. The Middle School Winter Concert is also scheduled for Tuesday, December 11th, at 6:30 p.m.
PROJECT PLANNING & GOALS
The proposed project was developed using input from various stakeholders—including staff, students and community members—as well as a Building Condition Survey performed in 2015. The input from stakeholders was used to create a shared vision for District facilities and define the project scope. (Click here to read summaries of the community input received at forums during the 2017-18 school year.)
The resulting $28,935,000 million project was designed to benefit all Cairo-Durham students as well as the surrounding community. It aims to:
All Cairo-Durham school buildings would benefit from the project.
“The development of this project was driven by our focus on the future,” said Anthony Taibi, Superintendent of Schools. “We need to provide the types of programs and educational environments our future graduates will need to flourish in a global society. It is important that we place value on creating an environment where meaningful relationships are cultivated, an open culture of collaboration is embraced and learning thrives.”
The cost of the project subject to voter approval is $28,935,000, however approximately 64.2% of the cost would be eligible for state building aid reimbursement. Taxpayers would be responsible for the remaining portion. The estimated tax levy increase associated with this project is not to exceed two percent. It is worth noting that Cairo-Durham CSD’s tax levy per pupil is the lowest of Greene County’s six public school districts (approx. $10,900). This project will not significantly change these figures or the District’s position within the county.
Click here for more information about the estimated tax impact associated with this capital improvement project.
TRANSFORMING THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT FOR ALL STUDENTS
The proposed project aims to transform the learning environment at all Cairo-Durham school buildings. Enhancements would be made to support current academic programming and improve the physical learning environment. Current elementary students would be among the first to fully benefit from these enhancements.
Elementary School. At CDE, air conditioning would be installed throughout the building to help maintain a productive learning environment during warmer months. On hot days, second-floor classrooms can reach temperatures over 90 degrees. A cooling system would alleviate some of the challenges associated with high classroom temperatures, such as physical symptoms related to heat and decreased student interest and alertness. Also, the likelihood of emergency closings due to excessive heat would be reduced, potentially saving hours of valuable instructional time each year.
Durham Building. The project would construct a large garage and workshop area at the Durham Building. This customized area would support career and technical education programs, such as Questar III’s Heavy Equipment Operation & Maintenance program currently housed at Durham. If approved, this work would be dependent on the continued partnership with Questar III BOCES and would be budget neutral due to revenue received from our program partner.
Middle/High School. The remaining scope of work focuses primarily on Cairo-Durham Middle/High School and includes enhancements to building security, the learning environment, academic programs, and spaces to benefit the community. Many spaces would be updated or reconfigured to reflect college and work environments. This includes renovations to some high school classrooms, as well as new spaces to better support the District’s mission of creating multiple learning pathways that empower all students (read more below).
Routine Maintenance & Repair. Additionally, the scope of work includes upgrades and maintenance throughout the district such as: restroom and drinking fountain renovations and additional parking at the Elementary School, as well as athletic field repair and asphalt replacement at the Middle/High School. These and other priority items were identified as areas most in need of maintenance and repair, based on recommendations from the mandatory 5-year Building Condition Survey performed in 2015. Click here to see the full list of "immediate need/high priority" items identified by the BCS.
RENOVATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
To best prepare our graduates for successful careers, the proposed project includes renovations at CDMS/HS aimed at strengthening academic programs and improving the educational environment.
Outdated, deteriorating Science labs that are original to the 1976 building would be replaced. Many Science classrooms at CDHS are original to the 1976 building and function with inadequate equipment. For example, one lab has unusable storage cabinets, only one working sink, and deteriorating lab tables.
The goal is to provide students with better facilities and equipment that are in line with current educational, technological and safety standards. The project would build updated high school Science classrooms with new equipment to meet current standards, such as wash stations, hazard hoods and adequate chemical storage. The project would also provide students with the appropriate classroom environment to seamlessly transition between lecture and collaborative STEM activities.
An outdated and inadequate Technology classroom at CDHS would be renovated to better suit the needs of Woodshop, Technology and Art courses (such as Sculpture). This would include upgraded equipment and an improved ventilation system, which would allow students to complete fabrication projects in an appropriately designated workspace and not have to transport materials from a separate location across campus.
“Science, Technology and the Arts are some of the fastest growing fields, and we need to provide our students with current, cutting edge facilities for those subjects,” said Mark Criswell, an Industrial/Visual Arts teacher. “Some of our spaces for these subjects are more than 40 years old.”
Space behind the auditorium would also be renovated to serve the needs of our Music Technology curriculum, video production, and other Music and Visual Arts programs.
The ability to collaborate with peers is considered a top skill students will need to be successful in the workplace. Therefore, the project would create more collaborative learning spaces throughout CDMS/HS to foster skills such as complex problem-solving, active listening and coordinating with others. Examples include small group spaces and a large group instruction area that would also support the growing Distance Learning program, providing students with more opportunities to collaborate with peers in school and online.
“Huddle spaces,” or common areas with group seating, would also be added to create comfortable, informal learning spaces where students and teachers can collaborate on projects and complete group work independent from the classroom.
A LAYOUT FOR COMMUNITY & SECURITY
The front of CDMS/HS would be reconfigured to maximize convenience, security, and the existing connection of the schools. The main offices would be combined to create a single, more secure point of entry. All visitors would sign in and access the schools through one centrally-located entrance.
In addition to combining the main offices, many services used by students and their families would be centralized. Currently, many shared school services--such as Guidance, Registration and the Nurse--are spread throughout CDMS/HS. The project would centralize these services, making them more convenient and accessible for all students as well as parents or families coming to the school.
One goal of the project is to restructure the CDMS/HS campus so that it is more useful to the community as well as our students and staff. The proposal includes a new state-of-the-art Media Center for school and community use. It would be built at the front of the building to allow for public access to meeting spaces and Board of Education meetings. Other Media Center upgrades include new furniture, new equipment, collaborative work areas and a makerspace.
A fitness center would also be added to benefit students and our Physical Education curriculum. Additionally, it would be available for community use outside of the school day. The fitness center would be built where the middle school cafeteria is currently located. As a result, all CDMS/HS students would use the existing high school cafeteria, which was renovated in 2016 and equipped to support Grades 6-12 (based on enrollment data).
MORE USEFUL ATHLETIC FACILITIES
Improvements to athletic facilities are included in the proposal, as recommended by the Building Condition Survey.
As shown in the image on the right, the current state of the soccer field causes puddles of water and mud to accumulate after it rains. To fix the poor field drainage and prevent field flooding, which often leads to the cancellation of home games, the soccer field would be regraded to improve drainage.
The track would be resurfaced and the areas for field events would be relocated to allow adequate space for the soccer and football field. This would allow for home football games to be played on campus rather than other places around town.
“We’ve never had a home game at our school,” said Nick Petulla, a senior football player. “To be able to play at our own school and have our own Homecoming would be a great feeling.”
Spectator seating and walkways are also being considered.