Utica residents voted overwhelmingly to back construction of a new wing on Thomas R. Proctor High School and the return of career-and-technical-education classes to the high school campus.
The official tally of the Tuesday referendum was 1,099 for the project to 377 against. Officials conducted a recount Wednesday, and the school board voted to accept the results at a special meeting Wednesday evening.
The almost $18 million project will include a three-story, 28,300-square-foot addition and the renovation of another 12,000-square-foot of the high school to create 27 classrooms,13 or 14 of them for career and technical education and the rest for general education for now and possible CTE expansion in the future.
The new program, which returns CTE to the district after a three-decade hiatus, is expected to open in September 2024.
More: What to know: Utica residents to vote on bringing career-and-technical education back to Proctor High
More: Utica voters: Should district offer career-and-technical education at Proctor, not BOCES?
The project cost includes construction, equipment and furnishings. State building aid should cover close to $11 million of the cost and possibly more, district officials said. Much of the remaining cost will come from American Rescue Plan stimulus funds the district was awarded, the retirement of long-term debt and savings in BOCES and transportation costs.
Officials have promised that the project will not lead to a tax increase.
At first, Proctor would offer career and technical education in 10 fields: automotive technology, automotive body and repair, construction trades (including carpentry, electrical, plumbing and masonry), culinary arts, cosmetology, drone technology, cybersecurity, early childhood education, criminal justice and nursing.
But officials have said they expect the number of students taking these classes and the number of programs offered to grow over the years.
Currently, Proctor students wishing to take CTE classes at BOCES must take buses to and from the Oneida-Madison-Herkimer BOCES building in New Hartford, removing them from the Proctor campus for half the day and limiting their ability to take elective classes, participate in daytime school activities and see guidance counselors and other support staff.
BOCES officially backed the Utica plan, making its acceptance by the New York State Education Department more likely.
Amy Roth is the health and education reporter for the Observer-Dispatch. Email Amy Roth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Observer-Dispatch: Update: Utica Thomas R. Proctor High School referendum passes