ESM voters say yes to 'Greener Greater Grove'

— East Syracuse Minoa School District voters gave their overwhelming support for a plan to renovate and make critical upgrades to Pine Grove Middle School during a referendum vote yesterday. The “Greener Greater Grove” bond referendum passed by a vote of 601-221.

“We thank everyone who participated in our democratic process by voting. We believe that voter approval of this much-needed project supports the direction of ESM as we prepare our students for success in the 21st century,” said ESM Superintendent Donna DeSiato.

Built in 1969, the middle school has never undergone a major renovation. For the past 43 years, Pine Grove has remained virtually unchanged. Core building infrastructure such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems have exceeded their lifespans. Learning space that was ideal for students in 1969 no longer provides an optimal learning environment.

Renovations to Pine Grove Middle School are expected to begin in summer 2014 with an anticipated completion date of winter 2016. The improvements will cost an estimated $24.9 million —74.9 percent of which will be covered by state building aid — and will cost taxpayers $9.94 a year for the next 17 years for a home assessed at $100,000.

“A Greener, Greater Grove” includes renovation of approximately 118,000 square feet of Pine Grove and an addition of 12,000 square feet. Building infrastructure will be replaced and all renovations will follow “green” standards.

The renovation will support a 21st century middle school educational model with a distinct area for each grade level called a learning commons. Within each grade level, learning zones will create a more intimate learning community for transdisciplinary teams. Each zone will have flexibility in the use of learning space for collaboration in small groups, as well as learning in larger groups.

In addition, the project includes a Community Café Performing Arts Center that will provide a venue for students to showcase their talent and accommodate schoolwide events and activities, as well as serve as a dining facility.

“A Greener, Greater Grove is aligned with ESM’s strategic plan and will allow the District to move forward with implementing 21st century learning models,” DeSiato said. “By doing so, we will prepare our students to excel in a complex, interconnected, changing world.”

The project will cost an estimated $24.9 million, 74.9 percent of which will be covered by state building aid. It will cost taxpayers $9.94 a year for a home assessed at $100,000 for the next 17 years.

For more information, visit esmschools.org/PGproject.

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