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Please support Skaneateles schools capital project referendum

Security will be reinforced with new exterior and interior doors and locks and more cameras. Safety needs include upgraded electric panels, fire alarms, and the public address and smoke detection systems. To assist teachers in their daily instruction, classrooms will get more storage and old unusable chalk boards will be replaced with more functional whiteboards. It is necessary to make toilet rooms handicapped accessible and old lockers will be replaced by those that can handle the larger book bags. The high school auditorium, used by all school and community performing groups, is in need of upgrades to the lighting and sound systems, and to the rigging, catwalks and curtains.

The proposal to replace the current middle school gymnasium with a newer, larger facility is the largest single expenditure in the project. The board of education, administration and architects consulted the community and staff and debated the options available for many months. The current locker rooms have cracks in the floors and walls while the gym itself is small and sitting on unstable soils. There is no direct access to the gym from the outside and no easy access for wheelchairs or ambulance gurneys. The cost of replacing the locker rooms and shoring up the underlying foundation along with a new west wall was estimated to cost about $2 million and would not solve the size and access issues. We believe a better use of capital, although more costly, will be to build an entirely new gym for $ 5 million. The new space would be easily and fully accessible, have a full-size court with adequate spectator seating, and have new functional locker rooms and toilet rooms. A larger facility can be more easily divided into two courts so more students and community residents can use this asset. Despite declining enrollment, the main core of our campus will continue to be the middle school and high school. We believe spending the additional $3 million now to build a better and more usable facility will be an investment that we will all be grateful for in the long run.

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