08/21/14 12:00pm
08/21/2014 12:00 PM
A new weight room was constructed this summer at the high school, part of a $78 million construction project taking place districtwide. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

A new weight room was constructed this summer at the high school, part of a $78 million construction project taking place districtwide. (Credit: Joseph Pinciaro)

Don’t be fooled while driving down Harrison Avenue: Riverhead School District officials say they’re pleased with the progress made this summer over at the high school and expect construction to be completed on time in the fall of 2015.  (more…)

01/23/14 2:00pm
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River school board will hold its regular meeting Tuesday night.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | The Shoreham-Wading River school board will hold its regular meeting Thursday night.

The Shoreham-Wading River school board is expected to discuss science lab renovations and code violation corrective work at Thursday night’s regular meeting, according to the agenda. (more…)

10/03/13 4:33pm
10/03/2013 4:33 PM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riverhead Charter School students at Thursday's groundbreaking ceremony.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Riverhead Charter School students at Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony.

The Riverhead Charter School held a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday to celebrate the start of its $14.1 million construction project that will accommodate the school’s increasing enrollment.

Charter school principal and executive director Raymond Ankrum gathered with hundreds of students wearing yellow hard hats at the school on Route 25 in Calverton and explained how the new building has been “years in the making.”

“Finally, it’s happening,” he said. “It’s an exciting time for our students and employees. We’re on the verge of big things.”

The 50,000-square foot project is expected to include a two-story building with new classrooms and space for an auditorium, gymnasium, library, administration offices and a kitchen. The design features will include a grand main entrance atrium and a large bay window that will act as a reading area in the front of the building.

Outside, there will be a general grass play area with landscaping, including tree plantings and standing ornamental lampposts.

A new bus loop, parking lot and drainage system will also be constructed.

The school will also get its first gymnasium, and a 150-seat portable bleacher.

Officials said the state Board of Regents approved the charter school’s request in March to expand its program through eighth grade, making it the only K-8 charter school in Suffolk County. The school was established in 2001 as a K-6 program and currently has students enrolled from about 14 local districts.

About a month after the state’s approval, the charter school held a lottery to fill open positions in the school’s kindergarten and grades 1, 2, and 6 programs. Mr. Ankrum had said the lottery was the first of its kind at the school, which saw more applications before the deadline this year than ever before.

Normally, the school will put students on a waiting list if they apply after the April 1 deadline, but this year the school received more applicants before the deadline than they had spots to fill.

Officials said the new facility will be able to accommodate about 500 students, up from its current capacity of 300.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Mr. Ankrum also gathered with representatives involved with the project, including BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers of Patchogue. The company is also involved with capital improvement projects in the Riverhead and Shoreham-Wading River school districts.

Representatives from Stalco Construction of Islandia; the project’s general contractor, SCC Construction Management Group of Hauppauge; the project’s construction manager, DeLuxe Building Systems of Berwick, Penn.; and PW Grosser Consulting, also attended the event.

The project, which will be paid for through a bond, is expected to be completed next winter.

jennifer@timesreview.com

09/19/13 2:44pm
09/19/2013 2:44 PM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead High School library has been gutted and is currently under construction. Those renovations are expected to be completed by the end of December.

Riverhead School District officials say they have plans in place — or are hammering them out — to help ease transitional periods during construction this school year.

At the high school, three rooms are currently under construction: the auditorium, the library and the large group instruction room, known as the LGI room.

Superintendent Nancy Carney said the auditorium and LGI room are expected to be completed this fall.

The library should be finished by the end of December, she said.

“The whole space is going to be renovated and turned into a state-of-the-art media center,” Ms. Carney said. “There will be computer spaces and study nooks for kids.”

Ms. Carney said the district is meeting with Riverhead Free Library officials to collaborate student services during the library’s construction. Teachers are also gathering library materials and carting them into their classrooms, and students are using computer labs for research services, she said.

Roger Smith of BBS Architects in Patchogue, the company that designed the district-wide, $78.3 million construction bond project, said during a Sept. 10 school board meeting that construction at the Aquebogue, Riley Avenue and Phillips Avenue elementary schools is “substantially completed” and punch lists are expected to close out within the new few months. BBS is also working on a capital improvement proposal for the Shoreham-Wading River School District.

Riverhead Middle School construction plans have been submitted to the state education department, Mr. Smith said, adding that plans for Pulaski Street and Roanoke Avenue elementary schools will be sent to the state for review within a few weeks.

With the infrastructure improvements, the district is planning to change the way it feeds students.

The high school kitchen used to prepare all meals and ship them to each school. Now every building will be able to prepare fresh meals on-site. The Aquebogue Elementary School’s kitchen was the first to be completed and staffers there are currently preparing meals.

Ms. Carney said the district’s wellness committee will hold its first meeting Wednesday to come up with a new food service plan, including menus and partnerships with local farms. The committee is made up of school officials and Riverhead school board members.

As for the lunch staff, Ms. Carney said the district didn’t need to hire more employees because it was able to relocate some from the high school to other buildings.

In addition to the renovation of existing spaces at Riverhead High School, the Star Academy is moving into the main building. This alternative program, which has been housed in the high school’s portable classrooms, provides an atmosphere that promotes academic success while addressing more individual needs and learning styles. Ms. Carney said the district’s goal was to stop using the portables and instead move students into the main building to better integrate them into the regular academic program, including electives and extra-curricular activities.

In addition to the major renovations, the school board recently approved a $1.7 million repair-reserve fund project for various upgrades at the high school, including replacement of lighting and crumbling concrete in the back plaza courtyard, repair of the south and student parking lots and replacement of a damaged ceiling and lighting in the cafeteria, school officials have said.

Ms. Carney said she believes the district has been very organized with construction planning and is “very pleased with the progress.”

“The kids and staff are so excited about the new buildings,” she said. “It’s a nice feeling to be in an environment that’s so conducive to learning.”

jennifer@timesreview.com