New Paltz High School has plans to build a new Health and Wellness Center to improve student’s physical and mental well-being.
“The estimated cost of the Wellness Center is $300,000 and the money will come from the district’s fund balance,” New Paltz Central School District Superintendent Maria Rice said.
The cost of construction and purchasing equipment will be split in half over the course of two academic years, or $150,000 per academic year. In addition, if built, $50,000 will be set aside per every budget year to maintain the facility.
According to Hudson Valley One, Rice had the idea of building a center for a few years before presenting her vision to the public in early March. One of her main goals of the center is to improve the physical and, most notably, psychological health of the high school students. Some former students and parents who attended various budget meetings during March noted that a center like this would’ve aided their mental well-being during their time at the high school.
While the addition of a substance abuse counselor and a bilingual social worker have been included in the new budget proposal, it is unclear how much of an issue mental health is at New Paltz High School.
Regarding overall public opinion on the proposal, Rice expressed positivity.
“I believe that the large majority of the community is in favor of the Wellness Center and understands that each school will be examined for ways to implement physical literacy,” Rice said. “I believe that the members of the Board also support the Wellness Center, but needed to do their due diligence.”
However, there are other town residents that would have preferred to see the school district allocate their budget in other ways.
“I really don’t [agree with the Health and Wellness Center], no,” New Paltz resident Mary Ann Tozzi said. She is also skeptical about the actual amount of usage the center would get.
“I know that it’s going to be important to some kids, but not most kids,” Tozzi said. “I think sports are good for kids, I really do, I think a lot of kids would benefit from exercise or yoga or whatever, but I don’t think they would take advantage of that outside of school.”
A public vote over the approval of the construction of the center will be held on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the New Paltz High School Gym.