Riverhead Charter School upgrade a few months away

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09/04/2014 3:00 PM |
Mario Anthony and Anthony Esbarr of Atlas Stucco work on the front entrance to the charter school's new building Tuesday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Mario Anthony and Anthony Esbarr of Atlas Stucco work on the front entrance to the charter school’s new building Tuesday. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Construction on the new two-story building at Riverhead Charter School in Calverton is still a couple of months from completion, officials said this week.

The building’s structural system, exterior walls, doors and bathrooms have been completed and workers are currently installing floors and finishing other interior projects for the 50,000-square-foot facility, said Michael Finnerty, project manager for Stalco Construction of Islandia, the general contractor on the project. The new building will allow the tuition-free school to expand its program through eighth grade, making it the only K-8 charter school in Suffolk County.

The building’s exterior will have a stucco finish in earth tones. The front of the building will have a grand main entrance atrium and a large bay window that will act as a reading area.

The new building will also have 18 classrooms; library, music, art and science spaces; a multi-purpose room with a kitchen, cafeteria, auditorium and gym featuring a basketball court, synthetic floor and folding 150-seat bleachers; and an administrative wing with offices, a conference room and faculty lounge.

Roger Smith of BBS Architects in Patchogue said construction is expected to be completed in November. He described the project’s design as a “hybrid building” since it combines conventional steel-frame construction for larger spaces with pre-manufactured modules for classrooms.

“The conventional section will include a combination gymnasium/auditorium/cafeteria and stage,” Mr. Smith said. “The other areas that will be built conventionally include special architectural elements, such as the main entrance atrium and the library reading area, both with large expanses of windows.

“All of the remaining sections will be modular,” he said.

Keith DeLucia (from left), project manager with School Construction Consultants, Steve Uzzi, field supervisor for Stalco Construction in Islandia, and Sam Bailey, project manager for DeLuxe Building Systems of Pennsylvania, go over plans at the charter school. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Keith DeLucia (from left), project manager with School Construction Consultants, Steve Uzzi, field supervisor for Stalco Construction in Islandia, and Sam Bailey, project manager for DeLuxe Building Systems of Pennsylvania, go over plans at the charter school. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

The pre-fabricated modular units, built by DeLuxe in Berwick, Pa., include concrete floor panels, plumbing, electrical wiring, lighting fixtures and windows.

The hallways are almost as wide as the classrooms and will serve as both common gathering areas and additional educational space, Mr. Finnerty said. There will also be windows between classrooms and hallways to allow more natural light, he added.

New features outside include a grass play area with landscaping, a bus loop, a parking lot and drainage and sanitation systems.

The school’s 5.8-acre property currently has two buildings and modular classrooms. Once construction is completed, the existing modular classroom section will be demolished and the buildings will be converted into storage space.

Riverhead Charter School principal and executive director Ray Ankrum said he’s pleased with the progress of construction.

“The building project has been amazing,” he said. “All parties have worked together to ensure that we are on time and on budget. We could not have asked for a better transition to the new school building.”

The charter school was established in 2001 as a K-6 program and currently has students enrolled from about 14 local districts. The new facility will be able to accommodate nearly 500 students, up from its current capacity of about 300. About 50 percent of the school’s student body lives in the Riverhead School District, Mr. Ankrum said.

Tuition costs for school districts won’t be increased to help pay for the $14.1 million New York State bond that’s being used to pay for the project, he said. Instead, the additional revenue from increased enrollment will go toward the bond payments, Mr. Ankrum added.

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