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Riverhead BOE votes to spend $1.1M in reserve funding on multiple projects

Following a public hearing Tuesday, the Riverhead Board of Education voted unanimously to spend $1.1 million in reserve funding on projects at each of the district’s seven schools.

At the high school, $326,000 will be spent to repair and replace stage lighting, which deputy superintendent Sam Schneider described as “unreliable” during a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting.

At the middle school, $80,000 will be spent to replace select classroom floors, some of which have curled and become tripping hazards. The floor replacement cost includes asbestos abatement, Mr. Schneider said.

An additional $80,000 will be allocated to repair and replace cracked sidewalks in front of Pulaski Street Elementary, which haven’t been addressed in nearly two decades, Mr. Schneider said. Cork gymnasium walls at Pulaski that have become brittle and are falling off the wall will also be replaced for $75,000.

The reserve funding would also cover an extensive playground repair at Aquebogue Elementary for $282,000 and select upgrades to rotting equipment at Riley Avenue Elementary for $14,000.

See also: Feb. 25 set as date for capital bond vote

The plan also calls for spending $80,000 for a new ceiling at Phillips Avenue Elementary and $16,000 to replace various doors and hardware there. “A lot of [the doors] are original to the building from the 1960s,” Mr. Schneider said. 

A large window on the facade of Roanoke Avenue Elementary School will also be replaced for $157,555. “It’s not watertight; it’s probably original to the building,” the deputy superintendent explained. “If not, it’s certainly been there for many decades.”

Former school board member Kathy Berezny asked if the replacement window would have the same look. “Taking note that it is a historical building, and not just randomly sticking a window in,” she said. “The building itself is a beautiful building. I just want to make sure it’s kept.”

Board president Greg Meyer said it would be replaced to have the same character. “When we replaced the window at Phillips’ library, the big beautiful window, we took great and special care to make sure that what we were replacing it with looked very similar,” he said.

The repair reserve was authorized by voters in May 2017 to fund up to $7.5 million in repair work throughout the district. Funds from the repair reserve can be used to restore facilities and equipment in the district that have deteriorated, weathered or become broken, torn or inoperable, officials said.

As of December 2019, the district’s repair reserve fund had accumulated $1.6 million.