SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The Schenectady County Legislature passed a resolution on Tuesday, Aug. 9, to provide $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to the Empire State Youth Orchestra (ESYO). The funds will be used for building renovations to the former St. Joseph’s Parish School, which will become ESYO’s permanent home and the region’s first center for musical youth. The total cost of the two-phase renovation project is expected to be $10 million.

ESYO purchased the eight-acre former St. Joseph’s Parish School property earlier this year to create a space to house all their ensembles, which currently practice and perform at multiple locations. The new facility will allow ESYO to expand programming, become an incubator for new ideas in music education, and explore plans to launch a second BOCES after-school program at the new facility to serve Scotia/Glenville and surrounding school districts. The space can also be used by other community music programs, like the Schenectady Symphony.

“Investing in ESYO’s new facility is a unique opportunity to support youth music education in our community while also helping create a new regional asset that can boost our local economy,” said Schenectady County Legislator Michelle Ostrelich. “This formerly vacant building will become a community hub that will bring over 500 visitors to the area each week and create much-needed studio and rental space for private music teachers, businesses, and other music organizations.”

Phase one of the project includes the transformation of the gymnasium into a state-of-the-art rehearsal space and addressing abatement, hazmat removal, and the construction of administrative offices. Phase two includes a new 3,000-square foot addition for a second rehearsal space, acoustic treatments to transform classrooms into music studios, and a new HVAC system.