HINSDALE, NY — Despite a packed day that included a media conference call and two town halls in different locations in New York's 23rd congressional district, Rep. Tom Reed made a stop at Hinsdale Central School Thursday to tour the newly renovated facilities and to meet with staff and students. 

Joined by Superintendent Larry Ljungberg and senior student tour guides Jackson Howell and Aarika Mattys, Reed, who represents the Greater Olean area,  viewed the building's new environmental pavilion overlooking a pond adjacent to the school that was sold to the district by one of its neighbors.

"This is a really great way for us to use applied science with our students," Ljungberg, a former science teacher, said. "Already, we've been able to see eagles, bear, deer and bobcat thanks to that pavilion." 

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The pavilion is one of several projects approved by taxpayers two years ago as part of a $4.9 million capital improvements package. The project also included renovations to the district's multi-use gymnasiums, a secure entrance, a new soccer field and updates to the distance learning lab, where Reed met with seniors Mackenzie Adams, Ashley Chapman and Kayla Brooks. 

The students told Reed of their individual experiences at Hinsdale, notably their experiences taking college courses while in high school. 

"The kids actually attend college classes through the (University of Pittsburgh at Bradford's) BRIDGES program and the JCC College Connections program," Ljungberg explained. "We want them to be prepared for going to college. We notice there is a gap between any high school and any college, so we're letting kids know that this is what they should expect coming out of here." 

Reed also implored the students, who plan on attending colleges outside of the immediate area, to return once they receive their degrees. 

"I know you guys are probably itching to get out here," Reed said. "You know what my goal is for you guys? Come back here. We're losing so many folks in this state, but a lot of them are coming back. It's home, and we love it, and we realize it's not so bad here in our backyard once we come back to the area." 

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