December 1, 2016---Millions of dollars of repairs and improvements to the Webutuck Middle and High Schools were pitched to the public by the district’s superintendent, Ray Castellani at the Amenia Town Board’s workshop meeting.
“These are needs-based improvements such as the vital replacement of the Middle and High School septic fields, the replacement of a 40 year-old boiler, upgrades to the security and technology systems,” explained Mr. Castellani.
Smaller more energy efficient boilers will save up to 85% in oil costs, he explained.
“Every student needs laptop, and we need the infrastructure to support that,” he went on, “Currently our infrastructure cannot support two classrooms at a time being on the internet, we need to upgrade that system to be up-to date.”
Antiquated cameras, with no motion detectors, needing to triple the amount of cameras in the district so they links into local authorities and prevent break-ins, replacing parts of the garage roof, were all on the wish list.
It was disturbing to hear the superintendent say that the previous fill that was put in the playing fields over the septic fields was substandard and now has to be removed because it has all heaved. This was part of the 2002 $22 million improvements which Mr. Castellani said were inadequately done. Oh dear.
The cost of exterior paving of sidewalks also seemed exorbitant at $1.6 miliion. This figure was contested by Planning Board secretary Sue Metcalfe at a previous forum about the school’s capital improvements.
Other improvements include an emergency generator which Castellani said would qualify the facility to become recognized by the Red Cross as a shelter. $55 thousand will replace asbestos tile floors which need to be abated. The cooling and sound system in the auditorium will be upgraded. A new playground will be installed. The water system at the High School will be upgraded.
We have come a long way since the one-room school house, and we may need to ask ourselves how much the education improved since those days!
All this work will require a short-term bond.
In other major news for the Town of Amenia, NDP EMS Medical Service was hired to provide ambulance services for the town. Supervisor Victoria Perotti read the 12-pg. contract which includs a total of $650,000 in ambulance services. $350,000 will come from taxes, the rest from billing revenue to the patients through their insurance programs.
Arlene Iuliano read a document from Washington, CT, written by Ms. L. Lavin, stating that archaeological artifacts were found on the Kent Hollow property, which were collected by Ken Hoadley and are now housed at the New York State Museum. The report is titled "the Ken Hoadley Collection" written by Lucianne Lavin, PhD. Institute for American Indian Studies, October 2013.
According to Dave Reagon of the Amenia Conservation Advisory Council: “Kent Hollow is part of an area along Webatuck Creek that was investigated by Ken Hoadley for artifacts. The area could be part of an area known as the Jobe Farm in the report.
The company that did the archaeological study for Kent Hollow is STRATA Cultural Resource Management, LLC. The principal investigator was probably James Turner.”
Reagon said he did not think that South Amenia would become the next Machu Picchu, but then again you never know. " He said that the Ken Hoadley fossil and arrowhead collection is housed at the New York State Museum in Albany "where like the Arc of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Arc it may never be seen again. The collection is important because it is the only sytematic collection of paleo Native American life in this area."