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BOCES Proposes To Build 52,000 Square-Foot Building To Expand Career & Technical Education In County
On March 6, 2024, voters in Rockland County will be asked to approve a $47.9 million capital project bond for the construction of a 52,000 square foot, two-story building to support growth of Rockland BOCES Career and Technical Education and STEM programs in West Nyack. The new construction includes additional classroom space in the Jesse J. Kaplan School, which caters to students with special needs.
The $47.9 Million “Building For Excellence” Capital Project aims to add learning space for more than 2,000 student who attend Rockland BOCES programs. Because the “Building For Excellence” project involves a new structure on the agency’s main campus in West Nyack, it is required that the community approve the project via a referendum.
“Simply put, Rockland BOCES is running out of space,” said Rockland BOCES District Superintendent Christopher D’Ambrese. “Enrollment in our Special Education, Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Early College High School (P-TECH) programs continues to soar. There are student waiting lists today and enrollment in our programs is expected to increase nearly 20 percent in the next decade. In order to meet the increasing needs of our local school districts, we must expand,” said D’Ambrese.
On November 15, 2023, the Rockland BOCES Board of Education unanimously approved the proposal of a bond program for the March 6 ballot. The proposition will authorize capital work to construct additional space for student programs and operations, including:
The addition of four, large classrooms in the Jesse J. Kaplan School will follow relocation of the existing Culinary Arts facility.
- One commercial and one standard kitchen for the Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) Culinary Arts program
- Two specialized Culinary Arts classrooms
- 15 STEM classrooms (11,300 square feet) for continued growth of Hudson Valley P-TECH (Early College High School)
- Cafeteria with approximately 5,000 square feet with storage area for tables and chairs
- A regulation-size gymnasium/basketball court and fitness area
The $47.9 million project cost, which will be paid over a 25-year period, will be shared by the eight component districts that make up the Rockland BOCES Supervisory District. Each school district’s share of the cost is determined by the student population in the district. This is referred to as Resident Weighted Average Daily Attendance (RWADA). The average cost to a Rockland County residential property owner per month will be $2.36 (based on an average property assessment of $500,000).
Construction will be financed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and offset by a portion of Rockland BOCES capital budget. A significant portion of the project – between 50 percent and 70 percent – will qualify for State aid at the local school district’s aid ratio.
Rockland BOCES spends more than $1.5 million annually on leases for rented classroom space in four locations: the former Tappan Zee Elementary School in Piermont, the former Gerald F. Neary Elementary School in Haverstraw and the former Hilltop School and the former Nyack High School in Nyack.
BOCES says adding learning space to its West Nyack campus will eliminate leasing costs, help to consolidate programming and staff, reduce transportation costs and build equity and long-term wealth for the agency.
Construction would begin Spring 2026 (pending NYSED approval) and would be completed in phases with an anticipated opening in fall 2027. KSQ Design has been contracted by Rockland BOCES to oversee design and construction of the capital project.
Voters will cast ballots March 6 between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Rockland BOCES Jesse J. Kaplan School, 65 Parrott Road, West Nyack. Anyone 18 or older who is a United States citizen living in Rockland County for at least 30 days preceding the vote date is eligible to vote.
Voters who wish to vote by absentee ballot because of disability, illness or travel must first request a ballot application. To request an absentee ballot application, contact the Rockland BOCES District Clerk at (845) 627-4702 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28, 2024. Once an application is received, an absentee ballot will be mailed. Completed absentee ballots must be returned to Rockland BOCES District Clerk by March 6 at 5 p.m.
For additional information about the March 6 “Building For Excellence” capital project referendum, visit rocklandboces.org.