December 4, 2021

Homer schools renovation vote in Feb.

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Scott Cavellier, the assistant director of facilities at Homer Central School District, stands next to boilers in the basement of Homer Central High School. A referendum in February could help fund renovations for the boilers.

A $4.23 million capital project that voters can decide on next month would make Homer Central School District buildings more energy efficient, without increasing district property tax bills.

Residents in the school district can vote from noon to 7 p.m. Feb. 4 at the training and education center at the high school on the renovations of the school district’s four school buildings.

Superintendent Thomas Turck said the renovations would:

  • Replace old lights throughout the schools and with LED fixtures.
  • Update old boilers.
  • Install new temperature control systems.

The total cost of renovations would come to $4.23 million, Turck said. Of that, 83% would be paid by state aid with the remaining 17% repaid over 15 from the energy savings the renovations would deliver, by C&S Cos., a Syracuse-based engineering rm planning and executing the renovations.

“Ultimately, you want to create the best learning environment for kids and staff and when you can have a well lit, well heated learning environment, that’s going to get it done,” Turck said.

If the vote passed, less work would need to be done on the buildings in the future, said Scott Cavellier, the assistant director of facilities at Homer Central School District. The four buildings date from the 1920s to the 1970s, and at least one, the elementary school, has been renovated several times.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Cavellier said. “I’ve been here for six years and unfortunately because of the way things change, and the age of schools typically are older, there’s constantly things to be done.”

If the referendum passes, the school district will look to get approval by the state Department of Education in the summer and hope to begin work in the fall, Turck said. Work would be planned to be done after classes finish during the day.

“This is great, I think, for the schools, the community and for the students and staff in that we can upgrade our facilities, which is what we’re always trying to do,” Cavellier said.