Board approves new middle school;
building to open September 2023
ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 2, 2018) – The City School District of Albany
Board of Education on Thursday approved converting North Albany Academy
to a middle school to open in September 2023, paving the way for a May
2019 public referendum on a plan that would not raise school property
The board’s action followed a three-year
planning process that included input from families, community members
and district staff. The resulting project will be financed entirely with
savings in the district’s capital reserve fund and New York State
If approved by voters, the new middle school will provide space for the
anticipated increase in enrollment that the three existing middle
schools – Edmund J. O’Neal Middle School of Excellence, Stephen and
Harriet Myers Middle School and William S. Hackett Middle School –
The new school also will allow the district
to move all its sixth-graders to middle schools; 255 (about 38 percent)
are in elementary schools now because of space constraints.
Albany was the fourth fastest-growing school
district in upstate New York State between 2012-2017, according to the
State Education Department.
Under the proposal that will go before voters
next May, North Albany Academy would be converted to a 650-student
middle school that would open for the 2023-24 school year. Elementary
students at North Albany – currently about 275 – would relocate to Arbor
Hill Elementary School beginning with the 2022-23 school year.
Albany International Center, an optional
transition program serving refugee and immigrant students, would remain
at North Albany until 2023-24.
The board plans to update the enrollment
forecast in 2020. If anticipated enrollment allows, the district will
operate three 650-student middle schools at Hackett, Myers and North
Albany. Albany International Center would relocate to the O’Neal
building, which no longer would operate as a middle school.
If the enrollment forecast predicts more
middle school students than can be accommodated in three schools, the
district will operate four middle schools: Hackett, Myers, North Albany
and O’Neal. Albany International Center will move either to Abrookin
Career and Technical Center or Harriet Gibbons Student Services Center.
This will require a second referendum in May 2021 to renovate one of
Once the board reviews the 2020 demographic
study and determines the number of middle schools, it will create a
committee of community members and district staff to help determine how
the schools should be enrolled. The board plans to continue to use a
feeder pattern, meaning students attending each elementary school will
attend a specific middle school. The new feeder pattern will go into
effect during the 2023-24 school year, when current first-graders will
enter sixth grade.
If the May 2019 referendum is approved,
construction would begin with renovations to expand Arbor Hill
Elementary School in the spring of 2021. Arbor Hill would remain open
throughout the renovation process. North Albany also would remain open
for Albany International Center students during renovations through June
The total cost of the proposed renovation
projects at North Albany and Arbor Hill is estimated at $26.5 to $28.5
An additional $3.65 million would be needed
if it becomes necessary to convert Abrookin or Harriet Gibbons for the
Albany International Center. That decision will come after the 2020
enrollment forecast update.
Project costs will be covered from savings held in the capital reserve
and NYS building aid; no increase in property taxes is required.
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and prepare all students for
college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our
diverse community. The district serves
students in 18
elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood
schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as
well as other innovative academic opportunities for students,
including four themed academies at Albany High