CAMBRIDGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Cambridge Central School District is set to go to vote next week on the $11 million first phase of a capital project that aims to give students a new performing arts space, and renovate other parts of the building. The plan would do so at no cost to taxpayers.

The project, priced at $11,760,000, is covered for 79.5% of its cost by state aid. That’s not the only factor in keeping the project tax-neutral. The district has timed the project to coincide with the retirement of old debts from a previous project (debt retires after 15 years).

“Just like a home, school facilities need regular attention and upkeep to continue to operate. The cost of keeping up with the daily wear and tear can rise above what the annual school budget can support. Renovation projects, also referred to as capital projects, are a way for school districts to access state aid to complete a larger amount of facilities work than possible within the scope of the annual school budget,” the district says on its website.

The full list of goals in Cambridge’s capital project includes:

  • Complete reconstruction of the school auditorium, keeping it at its current location
  • Renovation of the auditorium’s entrance and lobby
  • Construction of new restrooms near the auditorium
  • Upgrades to department offices
  • Upgrades to the school’s faculty room
  • Abatement of asbestos in areas impacted by the above projects

Investment in the school’s auditorium goes along with ongoing permorming arts growth happening at the district. Cambridge formed its own glee club in November, as a way to reinvigorate student interest in singing and performing.

The above project list was created as the result of surveys and district activity to lay out priorities. The goals consist of phase 1 of a larger plan. Future steps of that plan have no exact order, but could include renovation to elementary classrooms, changes to the school bus loop, the construction ofan addition for an agricultural facility, and the creation of a new multipurpose athletics field.

The project goes to a vote on Tuesday, March 21, from noon to 8 p.m. at the Cambridge Central School District auditorium. If approved, the project would then go to the New York State Department of Education. If approved in March 2024, work would begin that July, and be expected to complete in December 2025.