On March 6, 2024, voters in Rockland County will be asked to approve the construction of a new, 52,000 square foot, two-story building to support current and future growth of Rockland BOCES Career and Technical Education and STEM programs in West Nyack. The new construction will also allow for additional classroom space in our renowned Jesse J. Kaplan School for students with exceptional needs.
The proposition will authorize: (1) the construction, installation and equipping of Culinary Arts commercial kitchens and classroom space; (2) the construction and equipping of fifteen STEM classrooms for Hudson Valley P-TECH; (3) the construction of a fully-equipped, 4,500 square foot cafeteria and 7,500 square foot gymnasium, and; (4) the repurposing of other areas for instruction, at a total estimated maximum cost of $47.9 million.
The relocation of the existing Culinary Arts facility from the Jesse J. Kaplan School to the new building will allow for the addition of four new classrooms for students with autism in the fully renovated space.
COST: The total project budget: $47.9 million .
ANTICIPATED TIMELINE: Construction will begin in Spring 2026 (pending NYSED approval) and be completed by Fall 2027.
View the Building For Excellence - Project Summary here!
What is BOCES and how does it work?
Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) is a public organization that was created by the New York State Legislature in 1948 to provide shared educational programs and services to school districts. BOCES services are created when two or more school districts decide they have similar needs that can be met by a shared program. BOCES helps school districts save money by providing opportunities to pool resources and share costs.
Sharing is an economical way for school districts to provide programs and services that they might not otherwise be able to afford. It is often more efficient and less costly to operate one central service than it is to have separate programs in each school district. BOCES services are often customized, providing districts the flexibility to meet their individual needs.
Why do we need the capital project?
Enrollment in our Student Services (special education), Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Early College High School (P-TECH) programs continues to soar.
At the Jesse J. Kaplan School, the proposal includes the addition of four new classrooms to meet the growing demand from local school districts. Kaplan offers a stimulating learning environment for students ages 5 to 22 with autism, cognitive disabilities, medical fragility and/or multiple disabilities. The National Center for Education Statistics found about 15 percent of all public school students received special education services in the 2020-21 school year. Among children ages six and older, special education enrollment rose by 2.4 percent compared with the previous school year. The figures for 2022-23 continued to rise - impacting local school districts, which have engaged Rockland BOCES for additional services and space.
One of the key components of the capital project includes Career and Technical Education. The demand for CTE programs is high and continues to grow. Students, along with parents, recognize the value of career and technical education courses. With the changes in our local economy, more students are looking ahead to their future and realize they want and need career and technical education courses. This new building will provide more than 7,000 square feet for commercial kitchen space, plus two industry-equipped classrooms for our growing Culinary Arts program.
Our Hudson Valley P-TECH has grown from an enrollment of 43 students in 2016 to 160 in 2023. Housed in the former Tappan Zee Elementary School since its launch, P-TECH has outgrown the current facility. The construction of 15 STEM-focused classrooms will allow program growth via learning space expansion and enhancement, providing students with the specialized facilities they need to succeed.
Rockland BOCES has been aggressive in attempting to meet the need and demand for CTE and STEM classes and providing real-world experiences and skills that translate into a job right out of high school or making a student more qualified on his or her college application. The new learning space will increase our agency's ability to provide CTE and STEM programs to more students in a cutting edge, world-class, purpose-built facility.
The borrowing proposed in the referendum addresses our highest-need, student-facing capital project and plays an important role in enhancing our programs, expanding facilities and supporting the education of our students.
Key project attributes:
- The addition of four, large classrooms in the Jesse J. Kaplan School following relocation of the existing Culinary Arts facility
- One commercial and one standard kitchen for the Culinary Arts program
- Two specialized Culinary Arts classrooms
- 15 STEM classrooms (11,300 square feet) for continued growth of Hudson Valley P-TECH
- Cafeteria: approximately 5,000 square feet with storage area for tables and chairs
- Regulation-size gymnasium/basketball court and fitness area
- New locker area for 72 Culinary Arts students
- Security vestibule including “mantrap” security entrance
- Administrative wing: administrative offices, guidance, staff offices, conference room, reception area, staff lounge
- Natural light for all learning and office spaces
Rockland BOCES must continue to provide our students with the best facilities and support services they need to lead successful, productive and healthy lives. The program needs and building usage have changed over the years, and our facilities must be expanded to allow our programs to continue to grow and meet high standards.
Building over renting?
Yes. Rockland BOCES currently spends more than $1.5 million annually on leases for rented classroom space in four locations: the former Tappan Zee Elementary School in Piermont, the former Gerald F. Neary Elementary School in Haverstraw and the former Hilltop School and the former Nyack High School in Nyack. Adding learning space to our West Nyack campus will eliminate leasing costs, help to consolidate programming and staff, reduce transportation costs and build equity and long-term wealth for the agency.
Who benefits from the project?
Jesse J. Kaplan School students with special needs from all eight component school districts in Rockland County and beyond;
Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) students from all eight component school districts in Rockland County and beyond;
Hudson Valley P-TECH (STEM) students from all eight component school districts in Rockland County and beyond.
What would the capital project do?
The last major construction project on the Rockland BOCES campus in West Nyack was completed in 1973. This is an extraordinary opportunity to bring our main campus into the future by transforming how and where Rockland BOCES students learn. The upgraded facilities will reflect the environment of today's workplaces and educational settings. This will ensure continuity and better equip our students for success, both educationally and in their adult lives.
How will the project be financed?
The project will be financed by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) and will be offset by a portion of Rockland BOCES current capital budget. Because the project involves a new structure on the agency’s main campus in West Nyack, it is required that the community approve the project via a referendum.
What is the tax impact on this project?
The $47.9 million project cost, which will be paid over a 25-year period, will be shared by the eight component districts that make up the Rockland BOCES Supervisory District. Each district’s share of the cost is determined by the number of students that reside in that particular district compared to the other component school districts. This is referred to as Resident Weighted Average Daily Attendance (RWADA). The average cost to a Rockland County residential property per month will be $2.36*.
*Average based on a property assessment of $500,000
Does the project qualify for State Aid?
Yes. A significant portion of the project - between 50 % and 70% - will qualify for State Aid at the local school district’s aid ratio.
In an inflationary environment, how will costs be managed so the project is not over budget?
Budgets were developed based on recently completed similar projects in the region, and then design and construction contingencies (5% and 10%) as well as cost escalation (12%) and project “soft” costs (15%) were added. This initial process prior to funding approval establishes a concept and a budget and, as the project develops, multiple cost estimates will be completed and the scope and approach modified as necessary to align with the fixed budget. The project cannot exceed the approved budget without additional voter authorization.
When would work on the project start?
Work would start in Spring 2026 (pending NYSED approval) and would be completed in phases with an expected opening in the Fall of 2027. Every effort will be made during construction to minimize disruption for students, staff and local residents.
Will programs, students and staff be impacted during the implementation of the project?
There are specific state regulations included in the bidding documents that do not allow construction to impact the health and safety of students and staff or interrupt the instructional process. Once funding is approved, a detailed phasing plan will be developed to carefully plan the implementation of the various renovation and new construction elements of the project.
Has the project team successfully completed similar projects in the region?
KSQ Design has successfully designed, built and arranged financing for hundreds of millions of dollars of capital projects for school districts throughout the Hudson Valley and New York State, including recent capital improvements to the Nanuet Union Free School District.
Who is eligible to vote?
Anyone 18 or older who is a United States citizen living in Rockland County for at least 30 days preceding the vote date is eligible to vote.
Where can I cast my vote?
Voters will cast their ballot on March 6, 2024 between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Rockland BOCES Jesse J. Kaplan School, 65 Parrott Road, West Nyack, New York 10994 (Building 9)
How can I request an absentee ballot?
Voters who wish to vote by absentee ballot because of disability, illness or travel must first submit a ballot application. You may print and mail this form to Rockland BOCES District Clerk at 65 Parrott Road West Nyack, NY 10994. The application must be received by February 29, 2024. If you are unable to print the application, you may fill out this form to have one sent to you. This must be submitted by February 21, 2024 if you wish for it to be mailed, or by the day before the election (March 5, 2024) if it will be picked up in-person. Completed absentee ballots must be returned to the Office of the District Clerk of Rockland BOCES by March 6 at 5 p.m.
What will the proposition say?
Voters will be asked to cast a “yes” or “no” vote on the following question: “Shall the BOCES Board be authorized to undertake a capital improvement project, at an estimated cost of $47,900,000, with all such costs to be paid through bonding with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY), on the premises of the buildings and facilities located at the BOCES Parrott Road campus, West Nyack, New York, consisting of renovations and improvements to the Jesse J. Kaplan School, the construction of an approximately 52,000 square foot Next Gen CTEC/P-TECH building?"
What will it take to pass the vote?
A simple majority of the total votes cast by eligible voters from the eight component Rockland County school districts is needed.
Who should I contact for more information?
Please contact Erin Sussman, District Clerk by phone at (845) 627-4702 or email at email@example.com.