Salamanca schools looking to next facilities project, including Vets Park

The plans for a referendum proposing a new facilities project in the Salamanca City Central School District, specifically targeting athletic facilities, took another step last week with a presentation during the Board of Education meeting.

District residents could have the opportunity to vote on a referendum authorizing the project on May 21 during the school district’s budget and school board votes.

“This is something that has been ongoing since early last spring to get us to this point,” said District Superintendent Robert Breidenstein.

The school board is expected to vote March 26 to approve the scope and dollar amount of the project.

The project — which would see work done at Veterans Memorial Park, the Seneca Intermediate and high school campus, Prospect Elementary School and the bus garage — have early estimates predicting a $34.5 million cost.

According to district officials, the project would be completely paid for with monies already in reserve, expected federal aid and through bonding with no amount needed from the community.

“Don’t forget: this plan doesn’t raise taxes,” said Theresa Ray, school board president. “Yes, it looks like a lot of money being pumped into these plans, but we’ve done it being fiscally responsible knowing the community doesn’t want taxes increased. Taxes will not be increased.”

After approval to lease Vets Park from the city in December, Breidenstein said the district held several meetings with various focus groups containing students, athletes, school employees, community members and city and Seneca Nation officials to see what improvements were wanted at Vets Park and other district facilities.

“The undercurrent here that has gone through this entire process is what do we think, from input from the community, where will the community support future projects, both this project and projects years down the road,” he said.