Groundbreaking ‘soon’ at Aquebogue Elementary School

The Riverhead school board has awarded over $2.7 million in contract work to four different construction firms for renovation and expansion work at Aquebogue Elementary School.

“We’re excited we awarded the bids,” said Riverhead School District superintendent Nancy Carney. “There will be a new cafeteria so we will be able to cook on site. We’re increasing the parking at the school, which has been a safety issue for while a long time.

‘We’ll be having a groundbreaking shortly.”

The work comes as part of the $78.3 million, voter-approved capital improvement bond.

The first phase of construction began last month at Phillips Avenue Elementary School, which is also getting a kitchen, as well as a new library and media center, playground and more.

The board unanimously awarded four contracts at its Tuesday night meeting at Riverhead High School.

For general construction at the Aquebogue school on Main Road, Frendolph Construction Corp. of West Babylon was determined to be “the lowest responsible bidder meeting all the requirements detailed in the project manual,” according to a resolution.

The firm was awarded a $2.14 million contract, the largest of the four.

The electrical work contract was awarded to LEB Electric, Ltd. of Copiague in the amount of $192,000. A plumbing contract of $104,000 was awarded to Ambrosio & Company Inc. of Ronkonkoma.

Walsh Mechanical Contractors of Ronkonkoma was awarded a $297,000 contract.

Ms. Carney said she hopes to award contracts for Riley Avenue Elementary next, and that plans for high school work have already been sent to the state for approvals.

“We’re excited about all the work that’s being done to all our buildings,” she said.


Riverhead schools, maintanece, Gilliam
MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Joseph Gilliam (center, right) with school board members Ann Cotton-DeGrasse and Tom Carson as superintendent Nancy Carney stands by.

The school board on Tuesday recognized Joseph Gilliam for 38 years of services to the district as a custodian and later and later a mechanic. They also accepted his resignation, as Mr. Gilliam, known as “Bubba” is set to retire Oct. 19.

Mr. Gilliam started with the district in 1974 as a custodian at Aquebogue Elementary, during which time he received evaluations describing him as “pleasant and cooperative” and said he performed his job with “great dispatch and efficiency,” according to a resolution.

He finished his career with the district with the title of Mechanic II, working to take care of school ground throughout the district.

Mr. Gilliam “maintained the district’s fields, plowing snow, and keeping the sidewalks safe for nearly two decades,” the resolution reads.

He was thanked for “his invaluable effort and work” and presented a plaque by the board. The audience gave him an ovation.


Riverhead School board union
MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Union head Barbara Barosa speaks out about teachers collecting cash from students.

Riverhead teacher union president Barbara Barosa is taking exception with a new policy that requires some district teachers to collect lunch money each day from students, document how much is coming and from whom and then sending computer printouts to front office and cafeteria staffs.

All this, she said, while not being allowed to collect money for other efforts such as fundraising or, for example, athletic t-shirts.

But Ms. Carney and school board president Anne Cotton DeGrasse said teachers are allowed to collect cash for in-school activities such as lunch or school trips, but that they can’t collect money during extracurricular activities even if they’re working for the district at the time.

“Teachers have always collected money for lunches…all we’ve done is automated the system,” Ms. Carney said in response to Ms. Barosa’s complaints, which the union head made publicly during the meeting.

“Change has to occur in order for us to have a better system and better accountability,” Ms. Carney added.

“If it’s automated, why do we have to make copies?” Ms. Barosa responded. “It’s taking a lot of time for my teachers.”

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