Five questions on a multi-million dollar school bond proposal

COURTESY PHOTO | School Superintendent Nancy Carney

Riverhead School District officials are once again considering putting a multi-million dollar bond proposal for infrastructure upgrades before the public for a vote. The latest plan discussed comes in at $78.4 million, down about $45 million from the $123 million proposal voters overwhelmingly rejected in February 2010.

The Community Partnership for Revitalization — a group of community members, teachers and administrators dedicated to devising a community-supported plan for improvements — has been meeting since September to craft the proposal.

The plan, designed by the Patchogue-based BBS Architects and Engineers, calls for new classrooms at every school except Phillips Avenue, new science labs at the middle and high schools, heating and ventilation upgrades and other improvements.
The News-Review recently asked superintendent Nancy Carney the top five questions our readers have been asking about the latest plan. Here’s what Ms. Carney had to say.

Q: What do you think is the most necessary upgrade for the district’s schools? Is it the new science labs at the high school?
A: Ensuring a safe and healthy environment for students and staff and preserving the buildings’ envelope (roofs, windows, doors, soffits, cornices, etc.) are upmost in my mind for a new bond proposal. In addition, providing our students and staff with learning environments that are up-to-date. Our current science labs are antiquated and do not meet the requirements of modern-day science labs.

Q: Will the facades of the buildings look different when work is completed?
A: Yes. The replacement of the window walls at the high school and middle school will renew the appearance of the facades. Also, the new wing for science labs at the High School will be in the front of the building. This will create a modernized appearance in the front of the high school. Repointing of brick work and repairing or replacing soffits, cornices etc. will also restore the facades at Pulaski St. and Roanoke.

Q: Why is Phillips Avenue the only school where no new construction will take place?
A: Phillips has enough space to accommodate the student population. The library will be expanded and interior space will be renovated where necessary. A new drop–off and pickup loop is to be constructed for student safety, along with additional paving and parking areas.

Q: Are there any upgrades that you are disappointed were not included in the committee’s proposal?
A: I think the current proposal provides the most necessary upgrades while being responsible to our taxpayers. The [Community Partnership for Revitalization] team focused on bringing a proposal to the Board of Education that was based on needs versus wants.

Q: How many years do you estimate it will be before the school district needs to undertake a major renovation again?
A: We are projecting that the renovations undertaken in the proposal would last about 20 years.

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