Pasack Valley School Board Debates Locker Room Renovations

In a recent Pasack Valley Regional High School District Board of Education meeting, significant time was dedicated to discussing the proposed renovations and new construction for the Pasack Hills locker rooms and Fieldhouse, with cost estimates and funding options being a major focus. The board acknowledged student achievements and provided opportunities for public participation, while also discussing other items including rising district costs and student civic engagement.

The meeting opened with a moment of silence in remembrance of a student who had passed away. This was followed by an extensive presentation by Solutions Architects on the locker room renovations at Pasack Hills High School. The board was presented with two main options: renovating the existing locker rooms or adding a second-floor team room. The estimated cost for renovating the existing locker rooms was approximately $3.5 million, with a total project cost of around $4.2 million including additional expenses. Alternatively, a new two-story Fieldhouse structure was estimated at about $4.4 million, excluding furniture and equipment.

The board discussed the potential for obtaining 34% Debt Service Aid to alleviate some of the financial burden. The presentation also addressed the construction challenges, accessibility issues, environmental testing needs, and hazardous materials considerations. The importance of exploring funding options, such as a referendum, was emphasized to gain the necessary financial support for the projects.

Further, the board debated the practicality and cost-effectiveness of renovations and the addition of a freestanding building near the field. Discussions highlighted the logistical challenges for student accessibility, the benefits for athletes, and the potential impact on the school’s future development. The board members expressed divergent views on the necessity of a referendum, the need to appeal to community interests, and the school’s history with successful referenda.

The conversation also explored the possibility of utilizing existing space within the school for the renovations, the impact on costs, and the need for a analysis of room utilization. Concerns were raised regarding escalating construction costs, material shortages, and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on contractor prices. Strategies to mitigate high prices, such as separate procurement of materials, were discussed alongside the associated risks of warranty and responsibility issues.

In the realm of student and school achievements, the board acknowledged the accomplishments of the Pasack Valley Regional hockey team and the Pasack Hills boys JV basketball team. The board encouraged support for the Pasc Pioneers robotics team’s reveal night and shared details about the upcoming class cause week designed to raise awareness and funds for various causes.

Reports from Pasack Hills High School and Pasack Valley High School students highlighted co-curricular activities, athletic achievements, and community service initiatives. The students’ engagement in volunteerism and civic activities was recognized, and the board shared insights to help other groups increase their participation in such efforts.

On the financial front, the director of facilities and Capital Improvements provided updates on ongoing and upcoming projects, such as roof and HVAC replacements and ventilation upgrades. The finance committee discussed the challenges posed by rising costs and the 2% tax levy cap increase, focusing on measures to offset the fiscal gap.

The meeting concluded with two opportunities for public participation, allowing citizens to make comments. The board also went through the approval of minutes for the February 5th meeting and addressed other agenda items including education, human resources, and finance. A motion for adjournment was made following discussions on various topics, including installing a phone box with 911 access on the fields and handling the tragic event involving a student. A board member expressed gratitude for attending a training session and gaining insights into the operations of other districts.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Sarah Bilotti
School Board Officials:
Gini Varghese, Joseph Blundo, Elizabeth Calderone, Stephanie Huang, Pat Luisi, Kristin Martin, James Stankus, Debra Stephans, Michael Weaver

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