By Rich Place

A $14.73 million capital project that will bring the P-TECH program to Springville was given the green light on Tuesday by district voters.

In the annual school budget vote and board member elections, residents by a 396-307 margin passed the third proposition on the ballot to approve the P-TECH project, which will include moving the district offices to the middle school and renovating the current district office building.

Voters also approved the $38.82 million 2018-19 budget by a 400-216 margin and approved, 485-214, a proposal to purchase seven 66-passenger school buses as part of the district’s accelerated bus replacement schedule.

“We always take it as a vote of confidence when a budget passes,” said Superintendent Kimberly Moritz. “It’s really rewarding for us as a team that the public supports our efforts.”

Moritz said she was “delighted” about all the propositions passing but noted she was “concerned” the P-TECH project vote was close and believes there were voters who worried about specific aspects of the project.

The superintendent said because of the close vote, she looks forward to continuing to communicate with the community about the project, its impact on the community and answer any lingering questions that remain after the vote.

“I think that had a little something to do with people worrying about aspects I hadn’t been able to answer,” Moritz said about the close margin for the P-TECH proposition. “Now I will show it’s not going to cost the local taxpayer anything and it’ll be a great asset for the community.”

The P-TECH project has been a significant talking point amongst school administration and the board since the potential for the project first came to light late last year. In a partnership with Alfred State and Erie 2 BOCES, Springville will become a center for the program, which is expected to teach electrical construction/maintenance electrician and computer information system programs.

Students will graduate from the program with not only a Regents diploma but also an associate’s degree. Attendees will consist of students across Erie 2 BOCES, including five from Springville who will begin the program next year.

Now that the vote passed, the next step is for the project’s architects to refine plans and submit to the state Department of Education for approval. That aspect of the process is estimated to take about 40 weeks, Moritz said.

It’s hopeful the bid process and construction will begin early next year. The program will begin this September in the high school building but will exceed the space by the 2020-21 school year, warranting the new P-TECH campus to be open by September 2020.

Also on election night, unopposed school board incumbents Daniel J. Miess and Tyler Sullivan were re-elected to their seats after earning 502 and 550 votes, respectively.