The Pine Bush Central School District announced that the district will be utilizing unused Covid relief funding from the federal government and unused funds from the 2019 capital project to upgrade facilities and improve safety within the district in the coming months.
According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Joseph Lenz, “We have approximately $6 million from our federal Covid fund that must be spent by 2024. In addition, there is $4 million in our capital project fund. We have projects that were bid as alternates at the commencement of the project in 2019, but weren’t started because there was a concern for adequate funding. Now, we will be able to do them because this money is available.”
Projects and improvements on the agenda include installing a turf field, updating windows, lighting, parking, asbestos abatement and increasing security measures.
“The projects being done are ready to go,” Lenz said. “Engineering had been done previously for all of the projects so there is no wait time or concern of not meeting the 2024 spending deadline for the federal funds. They all fall within the scope of what is allowed for the funding.”
The installation of a turf field will be the biggest undertaking for the district, but the final product will be a much-needed asset. At the Pine Bush High School, two artificial turf fields will replace the main football field next to the high school, and a field behind the building will be replaced using the federal grant funds. District officials shared that artificial turf will allow for programming versatility and will be able to be used by the physical education department and athletic programs. The durability of the turf will offer more usage with less repairs and reseeding needed. The fields will be lined for soccer, field hockey, lacrosse and football. Once completed, fields will also be able to be used for outdoor learning as allowed by federal funding.
Across most of the district, new windows will be installed in five of the seven school buildings: Circleville Elementary School, Circleville Middle School, Pakanasink Elementary School, Pine Bush High School and Pine Bush Elementary School. District officials shared that Crispell Middle School and Edward J. Russell Elementary School already have updated windows and will not be part of this project.
At the Pine Bush High School, new lighting in the auditorium will be completed, which benefits the arts programs across the district.
“Already, we have ordered $50,000 worth of stage lighting, but we are looking to complete the lighting upgrade for the stage to enhance the performances,” said Lenz.
Parking will be added at the high school/district office complex for faculty, students and visitors. At the district office, additional parking will be created, provide more parking and handicap spaces close to the building.
In a proactive step, asbestos abatement will be completed in one wing of Edward J. Russell Elementary School in the ceiling. At this time, district officials said the space is contained and safe, but remediation must be completed. The goal is to remediate the space before it impacts students and staff.
Lastly, a district-wide project under the funding will create security locks on all district doors offering district-wide keying to all district buildings.