December 1, 2021

Meetings planned for Dryden schools project

Colin Spencer/ Staff Reporter

Dryden Middle School physical education teacher Janine Bennett stands on the track at Volante Field Tuesday waiting to administer a placement test to a student.

DRYDEN — Dryden Central School District will host two public meetings before a referendum in December on a $3 million renovation of Volante Field at the middle and high schools.

The $3 million project will be the final step in completing the renovations, creating a state-of-the-art facility for students and the community, according to a news release from the district. The previous steps, totaling more than $881,000, resurfaced track, installed LED lights, refurbished the football goal posts, and added new fences and a new scoreboard. These renovations were finished in the summer.

The meetings are 7 p.m. Nov. 18 and 7 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Dryden Middle and High School Library.

Voting will be 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10 at the district office at 118 Freeville Road, Dryden.

The project would install a multi-purpose synthetic turf field at the middle and high school. The field will host the schools’ athletic programs including football, soccer, lacrosse and baseball, and physical education. It would also be available for town athletic programs and events.

If you go

WHAT: Public meetings on Volante Field
WHEN: 7 p.m. Nov. 18 and Dec. 2
WHERE: Dryden Middle and High School Library

“It’s a better opportunity for our students and going to give us a lot more flexibility and versatility,” Superintendent of Schools Joshua Bacigalupi said. The grass field requires time and effort to repair for athletics, which the proposed turf field would alleviate.

He could not provide specific details for the yearly cost of maintenance for the current field or proposed field.

A new sound system would also be installed along with additional work done within the school.

The project would be funded with $2.24 million in a capital reserve fund after a previous referendum for the project failed in 2017 due to the fear of increasing taxes, Bacigalupi said. The fund has $5 million; between $2 million to $2.2 million would be left after the project is completed.

An additional $755,000 in funding from New York State Building Aid would also contribute to funding.

The fund can be used only to renovate facilities.

A second proposition also to be discussed would allow for the purchase of property next to Dryden Elementary School at 22 Pleasant St.

The property, and its uses, will also be discussed at the meetings. A purchase offer was submitted for $142,000 two weeks ago, Bacigalupi said. No definitive plans are in place, but it could be torn down to extend the school’s parking lot or kept for storage. It may also be used for school offices, he said.