KLSD Board of Education approves proposal to ask community to support 49.5-million-dollar bond
Community investment proposal informed by strong commitment to student learning, security and sustainability
The Katonah-Lewisboro Board of Education approved a proposal by the District’s Facilities Committee on Thursday, June 16, 2022, which will lead to a $49.5 million bond vote on October 18, 2022. The work that will be accomplished with the funding from this bond will both update the educational environment in all five of the District’s schools and renew critical infrastructure.
The step forward is informed by a strong commitment to three key areas: student learning, security and sustainability.
“New spaces in all five schools will further inspire our students and staff towards the ideals of our Learning Commitment,” said Superintendent Andrew Selesnick. “The new environments will spark joy, foster innovation and welcome collaboration in ways that best prepare our students for an ever-changing world.”
Highlights of the proposed work include the renovation and redesign of each elementary school’s library to include a modern makerspace, the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system for Katonah Elementary School, and the overdue replacement of Increase Miller’s modular classrooms with new classrooms that will increase the school’s overall capacity. At John Jay Middle School, highlights include the redesign of the technology/maker space and the Family and Consumer Science spaces, including a new greenhouse, upgrades in the auditorium, and renovation of the library’s step lab. At John Jay High School, new work would include renovation of the school’s B wing as a modern, flexible, learning commons; much needed updating and redesign of the C wing science classrooms and renovation of the auditorium and the school’s two step labs. Air conditioning would be added to portions of each building.
Facilities Committee member Russ Davidson, a school design expert and president of KG+D Architects, highlights the security importance of the plan. “The proposed improvement at all schools provides a secure entrance vestibule so visitors can be seen before entering the building and their credentials reviewed by security personnel prior to entering student occupied areas,” said Davidson. “During my discussions with allied security professionals while testifying before the Federal Commission on School Safety (Department of Homeland Security), all of the members of the panel agreed that this is the most important building entrance configuration modification that should be made to improve security.”
“I am very pleased to see the long-term goals of the KLSD Sustainability Policy reflected in the KLSD district wide capital planning proposal,” said Mark Theilking, Facilities Committee Member and Director of Energy and Sustainability, Town of Bedford, and Board Member Bedford 2030. “In particular, the proposal includes taking advantage of the opportunity to replace an old, polluting heating system at the end of its useful life at Katonah Elementary School with clean geothermal based heating while also avoiding spending on any fossil fuel burning equipment district wide.”
The proposed plan will be submitted for New York's State Environmental Quality Review this summer. The Financial Committee will be making presentations to the community in September 2022.
If the community approves the bond, the construction is projected to begin in August 2023 and be completed in phases through August 2025.
The District selected architectural firm KG+D, a regional leader in educational facilities design with a national reputation, through a competitive Request for Proposals. Of the bond, 45% is allocated to education, 48% to infrastructure and 7% to security.
Throughout its planning process, the Facilities Committee was mindful of the community’s taxpayers. Projections show that the local share of debt service would be lower than when the District’s last bond re-payments rolled off the books.
The Facilities Committee, formed in January 2022, is comprised of professionals in education, architecture, engineering and sustainability, and represents all schools and municipalities in the district. “School bonds represent an investment in the community by the community,” said Committee Chair Elizabeth Gereghty. “I am proud of the work we did to put forth a proposal that has significant educational, operating, and security improvements for our buildings while keeping a close eye on the bottom line.”