Classroom 2020 breaks ground

Monticello Central School District Board of Education President Lori Orestano-James led a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Friday, Aug. 16 to celebrate the ground breaking of the Classroom 2020 Capital Improvement Project, as construction began on the roofs of the district’s elementary schools. Members of the Board, district leaders and representatives from Clark Patterson Lee Architectural Firm (CPL) and LeChase Construction Management joined her at ceremony.

“As we reflect on the tremendous amount of time, research and advocacy that has led up to today, the Board is filled with pride to see this work begin,” Ms. Orestano-James said. “This marks a new chapter for the future of the Monticello Central School District.”

The work on the elementary school’s roofs is the first of four tasks that comprise Phase I of the Classroom 2020 project. Since voters approved the capital improvement project in November of 2018, district leaders have been working extensively with LeChase, CPL, and key district stakeholders to move the project through the complex design, planning and approval process, as set by the New York State Education Department. Each month, the district publishes a video to update the public on the progression of Classroom 2020 on its website.

On Oct. 17, district residents will vote on the Classroom 2020 Phase II Capital Improvement Project. Phase II of Classroom 2020 addresses the remainder of the district’s needs not included in Phase I, including enhanced safety and security features, a Universal Pre-K program at each district’s elementary school, the reopening of the Cornelius Duggan Elementary School (pending NYS approval) and the preservation of the St. John’s Street Education Center.

“The MCSD Board of Education has worked diligently over a period of years to prepare a plan of action that is a fiscally responsible, long-term solution to the challenges we face in this district,” Ms. Orestano-James said. “While Phase I of Classroom 2020 gets the ball rolling on repairing some of what is broken, Phase II completes the work, enabling the district to continue to provide high-quality educational experiences in facilities that are safe, structurally sound and flexible to adapt to future needs.”

The district invites residents to attend one of the informational events being held in the upcoming weeks to learn more about Phase II:

Sept. 7, 12:30 p.m., Monticello High School (gymnasium entrance)

Sept. 11, 6 p.m., Cornelius Duggan Elementary School

Sept. 24, 6:30 p.m., Kenneth L. Rutherford Elementary School

Sept. 25, 6:30 p.m., Emma C. Chase Elementary School

Sept. 26, 6 p.m., Robert J. Kaiser Middle School

Oct. 2, 6:30 p.m., George L. Cooke Elementary School

Oct. 10, 6 p.m., St John’s Street Education Center

The Board of Education will also host a community presentation on Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. during its regular meeting in the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School Library. Community groups are welcome to schedule a Classroom 2020 presentation by calling 845-794-7700, ext. 70531.

“As always, this Board is committed to transparency and dialogue,” Ms. Orestano-James said. “Education is a powerful force that has the ability to transform communities and we hope that our residents will join us to learn how Phase II will positively impact Monticello for generations.”