Moravia Central School District voters approved the first phase of a multi-million dollar capital project on Wednesday.
The capital project proposal passed 190-36. The first part of a three-phase project is set to have a $11.5 million price tag, with $10 million in building improvements and a energy performance contract for $1.5 million in upgrades.
The district plans to start bidding for contractors by fall 2019 and expects construction to start by spring or summer 2020 in order to complete the first phase by late 2020 or early 2021. Approval of the proposal also included an additional 10 percent in state aid to the upgrades under the energy contract.
The first phase will include updating all district lighting to LED; upgrades to mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems; and replacing some corridor lockers, ceilings and the middle school gymnasium, according to the district's website explaining the capital project. Safety is set to be a major focus of the project, with the replacement of interior and exterior doors, asbestos abatement in different areas and secured entrances preventing outside visitors from reaching student areas without reaching additional security.
To ensure the improvements under the first phase are energy effective and cost efficient, a $1.5 million energy performance contract will run simultaneously alongside with the phase. Automated electronic controls, several mechanical system upgrades, improved insulation and sealing and lighting controls with dimming capabilities will all be under the energy contract.
The project is not expected to raise taxes. The district said it will cover the project's costs through reserve funds and debt replacement. The project residents voted for on Wednesday was the first of three phases for $35 million in work overall on district facilities. District officials had previously said phase two would cost $10 million to $11 million, with $15 million for phase three.
District Superintendent John Birmingham said he was happy with the results.
"I appreciate the support of the community. I wouldn't say I was surprised, because they knew that we were prioritizing student safety and energy upgrades," he said.
Resident Rich Chandler said he voted for the project because it won't raise taxes and that state aid will pay for the majority of the project. He said he figured that if Moravia doesn't use that state aid it would be spent elsewhere, such as Syracuse.
"It's a no-brainer," Chandler said of voting for the project. "You have to invest in your community."