Project plan

Hornell School District’s $32 Million Capital Project Plan Goes To A Vote

  • A “super majority” of 60% is required for passage.

Residents of the Hornell City School District will go to the polls five days before Christmas to vote on a $32 million capital project that would include improvements to the century-old middle school and other buildings.

Voting will take place from noon to 9 p.m., Dec. 20 in the hall of Hornell High School.

Since Hornell is a small school district in the city, the proposal must obtain at least 60% voter approval to be accepted.

Hornell’s $32 million capital project is the first phase of a 10-year plan

December’s $32,040,000 proposal represents the first phase of what the school district expects will be a three-phase effort to address construction issues that have been identified in a comprehensive 2018-2019 facilities plan.

Each phase of the overall plan will need to be approved by the voters of the city’s school district. Phase 2 is expected to go to voters next year or in 2024, while the final phase of the ten-year facility improvement plan is expected to be voted on in 2027.

“The master plan was created after careful thought, review and feedback from various stakeholders within the school district,” Hornell School Superintendent Jeremy Palotti said in the district’s fall newsletter.

What the $32 million project will include

If approved by voters, the majority of the work will involve improvements to the middle school, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in the 2021-22 school year.

Under the plan, the middle school classrooms will be resized in size, the main office and nurse’s office will be renovated, and the mechanical and electrical equipment throughout the building will be upgraded.

A two-story classroom addition is also planned for Middle School, maintaining the number of classrooms currently available in the building while increasing room sizes.

Hornell voters showed support for the middle school renovations. According to the district, 72% of respondents supported the school’s proposed renovations in a May 2022 budget vote exit poll.

The capital project also includes improvements to Junior-Senior High School and North Hornell Elementary School.

In high school, plans call for updates to the seventh- and eighth-grade wing, including bathrooms, replacement of the sports field turf, and reconstruction of the existing tennis courts, which are badly damaged and currently condemned.

North Hornell’s work includes replacing the north entrance canopy as well as an aging roof.

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No tax increase as a result of the project

“Through stewardship of district resources, we were able to save funds to limit the fiscal impact of this work while improving facilities to provide a state-of-the-art educational experience for our students,” Palotti said.

District officials said the project would have no effect on the local tax rate. Hornell is reimbursed at a rate of 95% to 98% by New York State for capital construction costs eligible for assistance and capital reserve savings will be applied to aspects of the project that do not receive state aid.

The district plans to use $4,150,000 from its existing capital reserve fund and raise up to $27,890,000 from Bond Anticipation Notes for the project.

How to Learn More About Hornell’s Capital Project

The District’s November newsletter will contain additional details on the capital project plans.

The school will also host a town hall-style public forum on December 7 at the middle school. This meeting will take place starting at 5:15 p.m., just before the regular monthly meeting of the school board.

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