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Salamanca school board approves final Vets Park project plans

With the public vote on the next proposed capital project in the Salamanca City Central School District less than two months away, the Board of Education has taken one last look at what the project could entail.

The estimated $34.7 million project would see work done at Veterans Memorial Park, the Seneca Intermediate and high school campus, Prospect Elementary School and the bus garage.

The project would have no tax increase and no financial impact to the community, district officials said.

At their April 2 meeting, the school board unanimously approved the finalized scope and dollar amount of the potential project that will be put before district voters.

On May 21, district residents will have the opportunity to approve or reject the proposed project during the annual budget and board election vote.

“We have fully vetted the financial implications of the project — it’s still a zero percent increase to the community — and what the totality of the work will be in the May 21 referendum,” District Superintendent Robert Breidenstein said.

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.

“I would characterize (the meetings) as very positive, interactive and forward-thinking,” he said. “The city representatives and Seneca Nation representatives have been extremely instrumental in helping us shape this proposal.”

Breidenstein said all those who attended the previous meetings had been engaged, thoughtful and gave valuable suggestions on how the project could improve both the school district and the economic revitalization within the community.

A final presentation on the potential scope and financial details of the project was recently delivered by its architects, engineers and financial planners for the board and public.

During that meeting, Jeff Robbins, architect from HUNT-AES, went through each site highlighting where the renovations or additions would be.