County project delayed by pandemic now underway: $36.8 million BOCES Salt Point campus redo breaks ground
SALT POINT— The Dutchess County Board of Cooperative Educational Services (DCBOCES) $36.8 million capital project was due to break ground in April, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, on Wednesday, July 1, under sunny skies and with much optimism, a groundbreaking was finally held.
DCBOCES District Superintendent Richard Hooley, in his opening remarks, thanked not only all of the county voters who made it possible by supporting the project, but area school boards, community organizations including Rotary Clubs and all those who gave Dutchess BOCES the platform to promote the project and get it approved.
DCBOCES Board President Edward L. McCormick spoke next.
“BOCES is special,” he said. “No one has a mission like ours.”
Dutchess BOCES offers students instruction at its alternative high school, its Career and Technical Institute (CTI) and its Salt Point Center for Children.
State Senator Sue Serino (R-41) also spoke at the groundbreaking.
“Our community speaks highly of you because they know how impactful BOCES is to our community,” she said.
Support from county taxpayers was key to getting the BOCES capital project approved. In 2009, BOCES sought $29.65 million to improve its Salt Point campus, but taxpayers voted the measure down at the time.
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro also spoke on July 1. He praised BOCES for providing equal opportunities to students county wide.
“We still have a skills gap between those who graduate and those who employ,” he said. “This next step in BOCES history will help the county grow a work force that is more dynamic, more able, more capable and more connected to the jobs we hope to grow.”
BOCES has been at the Salt Point location for 25 years. Hooley recalled that it has been nearly 60 years since a capital improvement project has been undertaken by DCBOCES.
BOCES hopes to add to the CTI building as well as another new structure. All 13 school districts in Dutchess County will contribute equally to the project. Each of the districts has students who use the BOCES facilities.
The project will do away with some of the current rental fees at some of the BOCES sites, as well as extra busing costs.
Architect Russel A. Davidson of KG and D Architects said he’s been working with BOCES for more than 10 years.
“It’s great to see the community support this effort,” he said. “The building will last from 50 to 100 years or more and was designed to be sustainable and can be repurposed.”
Also attending the ceremony were 2020 Alternative High School Council President Robert Jackson, of Stissing Mountain Junior/Senior High School, and 2020 CTI Valedictorian Thomas Belchert, of Rhinebeck High School.
The event was limited to less than 25 people, all of whom wore masks and socially distanced due to COVID-19.