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BCSD voters approve $45M capital project Thursday, officials pleased

By Joanne Beck

After two public hearings with only a few Batavia City School District residents in attendance, the majority made their opinions known Thursday by a vote of 315 to 97 in favor of the $45 million capital project, district officials said.

The vote means that the capital project will proceed in 2024 to install two synthetic turf fields for the high school, a baseball and softball field each, and upgrades for every school building within the city school district.

District officials applauded the support, including school board Vice President John Reigle, who said that he was “very pleased and proud” about the results of the district’s Reimagined capital project vote.

“Our leadership team did a great job promoting the project and explaining the many benefits of the project to our community,” Reigle said to The Batavian Thursday night. “This is a great step towards ensuring our district keeps the high standards that our district students and community expect and deserve. I’d like to thank the community for their support in voting to approve this capital project for our district.”

Likewise, board member Alice Ann Benedict was also pleased with the results and thanked the community for its demonstration of support for the project.

“I am thrilled with the overwhelming support of the BCSD Capital Project. The project was well-advertised and explained to the community over the last number of weeks. We’ve had a lot of feedback, mostly positive, from the community,” Benedict said to The Batavian. “I am always pleased when the voting community supports the recommendations of the Superintendent and administrators. Keeping our buildings safe and up-to-date is the most important part of this project because our students and staff are the most important users of these buildings. There are numerous safety improvements included for all of the schools.

“With most of the questions coming because of the artificial turf cost on two fields, our athletes can be out on the fields a lot earlier because this project will improve the drainage issues our district fields suffer with,” she said. “We have also heard  positive feedback about the moving of the grades, especially fifth grade back to John Kennedy.”

The BCSD Reimagined Project's next phase will include engaging in the contractor bid process over the next 12 months, and the district expects the first phase of construction to begin in the spring of 2025. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the 2027 calendar year. BCSD will provide additional updates and project details to the Batavia community as they become available, officials said in a press release issued Thursday night.

“Thank you to the Batavia community for your steadfast support in passing our BCSD Reimagined Capital Improvement Project,” Superintendent Jason Smith said in the release. “With this initiative, we will address essential infrastructure needs across all of our buildings. These funds will also help us convert Robert Morris into a modern early childhood education center and enhance our athletic fields for year-round use. Your vote reflects a deep commitment to our students and schools' ongoing improvement and future success.”

Board President John Marucci added, “We are profoundly grateful to the Batavia community for their support, to our Batavia City School District leadership for their visionary guidance in spearheading this important project, and to our collaborative construction partners and Buildings and Grounds Committee, who played an integral role in its conception.” 

“It's a remarkable achievement to bring this project to fruition with a zero percent tax increase, reflecting our shared commitment to fiscal responsibility and educational excellence,” Marucci said. “This collective support and collaboration are invaluable in shaping a brighter future for the Batavia City School District students.”

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