Pine Valley Capital Project Vote Today

SOUTH DAYTON — Pine Valley Central School Superintendent Scott Payne was pleased that the recent capital project public meeting, though moderately attended, raised good questions about the future of the district. Concerns about population drain and the district’s long-term financial future were answered by the board of education’s belief that the project –which will be voted upon today — will actually help the school become more sustainable down the road.

At the public meeting, district residents viewed a presentation of the project and had the opportunity to share comments and ask questions. A question was asked about how the school’s declining population over the years has factored into the long-term financial picture for the district. Payne explained that population trends have demonstrated that “population drain is leveling out,” and that the board is committed to working with the budget to make the district as sustainable as possible. Importantly, the capital project is a tax-neutral project and is part of a long-range plan for the district. He believes this and future capital improvement projects are an important part of making the district’s facilities and programs strong for future students.

The first component ($850,000) involves moving district offices to more secure locations so that visitors are not near classrooms when they enter the building. The plan involves moving the business office next to the district office away from classrooms. The former business office would then be repurposed as education space. The plan also includes relocating the Buildings and Grounds office to the junior/senior high school receiving area and installing grab bars, mirrors and push buttons on doors for improved ADA accessibility.

The second component ($2.95 million) involves upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems by replacing outdated building controls and air handling units.

The third component ($1.4 million) focuses on the school’s athletic fields, including widening and regrading the football field to be used for both football and soccer. This component addresses the lighting at the athletic fields, including replacing four lights/light poles. Payne said, “We talked about the field, giving honor to the original lights that were put in 25 years ago by a dedicated group of volunteers and how it’s time to create the setting for the next generation to play under the lights there.”

Although Pine Valley does not have its own football team (the district has combined with Gowanda), Payne pointed out that the football field is used by the community youth football program. Currently, the school plays one JV football game there each year and is hoping to host more varsity games, as all home games are played at Gowanda. “If we can enhance what we’re doing, that creates a draw of being able to do more from an athletic perspective,” Payne pointed out.

Now that the school shares girls varsity soccer with Gowanda, he hopes that Pine Valley’s field can be used for home games in that sport, as well. Plans also include addressing the baseball infield through installing proper drainage and regrading the surface.

The fourth component ($1.3 million) involves enhancements to instructional programming. Under the proposed project, the existing CAD lab, maker space, wood shop, paint room and dust collector would be reconstructed, and the maple processing facility will be updated with state-of-the-art technology. The plan also adds a greenhouse/instruction space to the school.

During the meeting, Payne said many attendees were most excited about this aspect of the project.

“There’s a lot of support for our AG program,” Payne said. “It’s very clear how important it is to the community and our kids. It’s our biggest club, and we’re really happy to be supporting that. There was also strong support voiced for the safety components.”

The public can visit www.pval.org to view the Capital Improvements Project presentation. A sample ballot can be viewed on the Chautauqua County Board of Elections website at www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/682/Sample-Ballots. The capital project vote is today from noon-9 p.m. in the high school gymnasium foyer.

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