Many New York State school districts are faced with a need to repair and renovate aging facilities to address advancements in learning environments and educational technology. To ensure our students have equitable learning opportunities, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) requires all school districts to complete a Building Condition Survey (BCS) every five years. During the BCS, HUNT architects and engineers will review existing documentation and specifications, perform a visual inspection of every educational facility, and assess existing conditions to identify opportunities for improvements. Our project team will evaluate facility mechanical systems, examine exterior and interior building spaces, identify areas of structural failure, deterioration, and determine building infrastructure needs and future repairs. In addition, we partner with administrators, staff, and faculty to evaluate, plan, and prioritize capital projects that will guarantee safe and comfortable learning environments for our students and ensure the most critical issues are addressed first.
Often, the cost of district-wide facility improvements will far exceed the funding a school district has available for capital allocation. Therefore, districts will identify moderate-sized projects to renovate existing facilities, implement key health and safety measures, perform technology upgrades, and improve educational spaces for their students and staff. New York school districts generally fund these projects using a combination of state and local aid, as well as additional funding set aside specifically for capital improvements. To account funding gaps, districts rely on the electorate for a vote, or referendum, to secure taxpayer support. In the months leading up to a successful ballot, our project team will partner with districts to discuss pre-referendum planning and host community informational meetings. Public meetings ensure that everyone involved has an opportunity to ask questions, learn about the proposed project vision, and understand the value that a renovated facilities will provide to our students, staff, and the community.
Capital improvements allow our school districts to provide the healthiest educational environments for our children. Improvements, renovations, and facility repairs also contribute to an improved sense of community, help maintain and improve our property values, and serve to attract families to our local districts. We urge you to support the vision of our school districts, and to embrace the possibilities that a successful referendum will bring.