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Here’s what Watertown school district’s $13M capital project would do

Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 3:46 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Next month, people in Watertown will have the chance to vote on a multi-million dollar improvement project.

The Watertown City School District is up for another capital project - this one focusing on basic needs.

“This is a $13 million project that will keep our kids warm, safe and dry. There’s a lot of infrastructure, brick and mortar, lots of things that need to be done,” said Superintendent Patti LaBarr.

LaBarr says it’s not a glamorous project. It’s behind-the-scenes things like a new roof at the high school, air conditioning for data closets, and heating and ventilation upgrades.

They’re things that the new director of facilities, Brian Arias, is overseeing.

“This old neumatic valve, we’re going to upgrade to digital controlers, digital valves,” he said.

Much of the work will happen in the belly of the schools, like switching out pool filters and bringing in new water heaters.

Although most of the changes with the capital project can’t exactly be noticed, one at Watertown High can be. Bleachers there are getting a much needed upgrade.

“They’re going to be up to standard and in compliance with ADA to allow access to handicapped individuals,” said Arias.

An outdated wheelchair lift will get a face lift.

“What’s going to end up happening is we’re going to get rid of this device entirely and we plan to put in an elevator here,” said Arias.

There’s also a lot of cement work for the project, like cleaning up Wiley Intermediate and redoing a staircase to the playground.

“This is kind of a must-have, need-to-do list. This isn’t something where we can kind of pick and choose. They’re things that have been overlooked for some time and need to be done now,” said LaBarr.

The district just needs the okay from city residents.

The project will not require an increase in taxes and LaBarr says she’s happy to answer any questions or concerns.

Residents will vote on the capital project May 18.

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