By a nearly 3-to-1 margin, voters in the Webster Central School District gave their okay Tuesday to spend $43.5 million to upgrade and expand certain features at 11 different schools.
Some of the proposed plans were prompted by the results of a state mandated building condition survey that takes place every five years.
Over the next several years, the bathrooms and playgrounds at all Webster elementary schools will be made accessible under federal Americans with Disability Act requirements.
Outdated boilers, many of which are 40 years old, will be replaced with energy-efficient models in 10 of 11 school buildings.
In addition to those practical improvements, the district also saw the need for some bigger upgrades. Spry Middle School is getting a new "cafetorium" to replace the current 92-year old auditorium.
"It's gotten to the point now where the kids can't have concerts in the building anymore at Spry,” said district superintendent Carmen Gumina. “They actually have to go to off campus to Webster Schroeder High School. Our musical productions and drama productions are really hard to hold in that space because of sight lines and ceilings."
The cafetorium will be located at the south end of the school. It will be at least twice the size of the existing auditorium, which will be used as professional development space. The district currently has to lease space off-site for those meetings.
Another part of the district’s capital project will take space from an unused courtyard at Webster Thomas High and use it to expand the existing library and create a state-of-the- art media center.
Gumina said it will bring the library into the 21st century. "The idea is to bring in small to large groups of students, and have them have areas to work in within the library, and really make this a template for a new media and library center."
Groundbreaking is anticipated in May or June of 2018; all the projects are expected to be completed by 2020.