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Liverpool residents approve $32.8 million capital improvement project within the school district

Residents within the Liverpool Central School District voted Wednesday to approve a $32.8 million capital improvement project to make renovations to buildings within the district. The project was passed with a 724 to 425 vote.

The project calls for "fundamental" improvements to nine buildings within the school district. They are: Willowfield Elementary, Elmcrest Elementary, Morgan Road Complex (Morgan Road Elementary and the 9th Grade Annex), Soule Road Complex, Liverpool High School, the Educational Communication Center, Chestnut Hill Middle, and Chestnut Hill Elementary buildings.

The work will be outside of the classroom and will not affect classroom learning, as there are no cosmetic aspects to the project, said Dr. Richard Johns, superintendent. The work includes replacing windows, doors and heating systems, and improvements to siding, parking lots, sidewalks and roofs.

New York State will pay $28,510,000, or 85 percent, of the project's expenses from the state educational capital reserve, and the district will pay the remaining $4,290,000 from its own capital reserve fund, said Johns. The project is in no way related to the 2011-2012 school budget.

Johns also made it clear that the project would not raise local property taxes for district residents.

No money from the newly approved project will be used on the ongoing Liverpool Elementary/ Liverpool Middle School construction project, either.

With the project approved, the next step for the district is to contract with the architects to create blueprints, and a contract manager to establish a timeline and budget estimates for the project. The bidding process will then begin sometime at the end of this year, or beginning of next year, and the project is expected to break ground by December 2012, said Johns.

Discussion about the capital improvement project first came from recommendations presented to the board of education by the district's Long Range Planning Committee in August 2010. During this time, the committee-made up of approximately thirty Liverpool taxpayers and parents-recommended the necessary improvements to the buildings over the next ten years, in addition to the closure of Chestnut Hill Elementary and Chestnut Hill Middle schools.

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