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Supporters Surface for Embattled Hen Hud Bond

MONTROSE, N.Y. – The embattled capital improvements bond expected to be approved by the Hendrick Hudson Board of Education October 19 saw new community support at Wednesday’s school board meeting.

“There were about 50 people there last night, there were 50 copies of the program and they were all gone at the end of the evening,” said district spokesman Rick McCormack.

The school district has whittled the scope of the bond proposal down from $31.4 million, the original estimate presented to the public, to $25.2 million. The ambitious project changed slightly from the original bond, the expected proposal to include only an 850-seat stand-alone performing arts center, instead of a 1,000-seat performing arts center.

Rehearsal spaces for the band and chorus have also been pulled from the performing arts center, and will be built into the newly renovated auditorium. Whether or not high school graduation can be held at the performing arts center remains up in the air. The high school currently rents the performing arts center at Purchase College for $15,000 each year.

“We’re trying not to build a facility based on one singular event in the school year,” said McCormack. “There’s 873 kids in the high school this year, about 250 kids in the senior class, so that would give each kids two to three guests in the auditorium. Currently at Purchase kids get five tickets."

McCormack mentioned some of the district's other venues for savings on the project, which includes upgrades in the district’s science, athletics and performing arts spaces, including a 10 percent reimbursement of New York State aid on the project, and a previous bond which came in under budget, and left the district with $600,000.

“We hope that reducing the scope and size of the performing arts center will make the project more appealing to people in the community,” said McCormack, “but we’re cognizant of the financial impact of people in the community.”

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