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Friday, December 19, 2014
Rockville Centre school bond debated

The Rockville Centre Board of Education trustees held their Oct. 23 regular public meeting to discuss a potential bond to address outstanding infrastructure issues at each of the district’s buildings.

The meeting was the second public discussion of the possibility of the bond and focused on the proposed work on the district’s elementary schools. The previous meeting, on Sept. 27, focused on work proposed for South Side High School and South Side Middle School.

Architects from BBS, the firm that has worked with the district on its long-range plans, were on hand to present different options for renovations at the schools, along with construction timetables and costs.

Among the most costly improvements suggested for the elementary schools is the addition of classrooms and multi-purpose rooms, which would cost the district upwards of $10 million if it were to approve the additions for every school.

“We’re not going to be able to predict by the building what our [student] population looks like,” said Superintendent Dr. William Johnson. “There isn’t any evidence that I have that is real that would suggest that we’re going to be dealing with continued growth. I don’t have any evidence that would suggest we need to add classrooms throughout the buildings.”

Other possible improvements for the schools include a parent drop-off loop for Hewitt Elementary, a replaced sewer line and drainage for Watson Elementary and roof replacement for Covert Elementary.

One of the items being discussed for the high school calls for the elimination of the ‘portables’ at its east end. These temporary structures have been serving as overflow instructional space for more than 30 years, and have long outlived their usefulness. Another significant improvement contemplated at the high school would be the modernization and revamping of its science labs.

When one resident pointed out near the end of the bond discussion that the total cost of all the improvements mentioned would be tens of millions of dollars, Liz Dion, Board of Education president, was quick to point out that not all of the recommendations made would be added to the bond.

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