By Jeanne Sager
LIBERTY June 25, 2004 Sullivan County BOCES is getting too big for its britches.
The cooperative education facility in Liberty has had record enrollment in recent years. Theyre adding new classes all the time, and theyre churning out graduates with special skills each year.
But theyre running out of room - if they get any more students, there wont be a classroom left to teach in.
A facilities committee of BOCES staff and community members has come up with just one option the time has come to build.
So Superintendent Dr. Martin Handler has started making his rounds of the eight county school districts that work together to offer career and technology classes, adult education and special education at BOCES.
Monday night he was in Livingston Manor to let the members of the districts board of education know whats coming down the pipeline.
We have no room, he said. We have less than no room and were going to have to build.
The modulars that house a number of classrooms, including the cosmetology program, are old and decrepit and will have to be torn down.
Theyve outlived their usefulness, Handler noted. They were designed to be used for seven or eight years, and its been 30 we certainly got our moneys worth.
And the gymnasium in the Rubin Pollack Education Center is good for programs that require the stage, but the full-time student population has grown to the point where physical education needs outstrip the small room.
BOCES hopes to erect 20 new classrooms, three shoprooms and a new gymnasium, right on the campus in Liberty.
If its not cost-prohibitive, Handler said the plan is to connect the new building to the Rubin Pollack Education Center for enhanced security and to keep students and staff from having to go outside in inclement weather.
BOCES is getting ready to ask architects to submit proposals for the project, but actual building is a long way off, Handler said.
The money for that building will have to come from county taxpayers, and any project will have to be voted on by area residents.
That vote will likely take place next spring, Handler said.
Until then, administrators are looking at ways to best use the space they have and working with other community agencies to serve the students.
Animal science students take classes in Jeffersonville at Stonewall Farms, and adult education classes are held at the St. John Street Education Center, which once housed the Monticello Middle School.
We dont have enough room now, and three, four, five years down the road, the countys population is going to grow, including the student population, Handler said.