When students in Valley Stream Union Free School District 13 return to school this year, they will see some upgrades to their facilities as the district finishes up the second phase of its bond work
“The district was highly engaged in bond projects over the summer and capital projects that are being implemented by the administrative staff,” Superintendent Dr. Constance Evelyn said at a Board of Education meeting last Monday. “So we’re working collectively to make sure this is moving forward in a timely fashion.”
Play areas at all four schools have already been renovated with a safety surface and dry wells to absorb any moisture, Frank Harripersad, who is overseeing the project for South Huntington-based Park East Construction, said. At Wheeler Avenue Elementary School, the playground was moved back further onto the property to accommodate a new cafeteria, he said. He added that he saw that two of the playground’s wood equipment was deteriorating at Willow Road Elementary School. Harripersad said that he then spoke with district officials about the problem, and new playground equipment will be installed by the time school starts on Sept. 5.
“Phase 2 is wrapping up,” said Dave Bozuhoski, an architect for Patchogue-based BBS Architecture. “We have also begun working on Phase 3A projects.”
Projects for the third phase will be completed over the course of the coming school year, he said. The first part of the third phase, which will be completed in the fall, includes renovations to group toilet rooms at all four elementary schools, regrading and leveling the field at Howell Road Elementary School, replacing a handrail at the James A. Dever School, and upgrading the heating and plumbing systems at all four schools. Renovations to the auditorium at the Wheeler Avenue Elementary School are also underway, and students should be able to use it starting in mid-October, Bozuhoski said.
“They have to wait for all the seats to come in, get all the doors installed and all the other egress features and emergency systems,” Bozuhoski said of the auditorium’s progress, adding that the rooftop mechanical unit will take the longest to install, but he’s “not terribly concerned” about that.
Park East Construction and BBS Architecture will also be working on renovating the kitchens and cafeterias at all four elementary schools throughout the course of the school year. They will be replacing outdated equipment, adding dry storage areas and building a new above-ground cafeteria at Willow that will have its own service area.
“These will continue to be built while school is running, with the anticipation that when they arrive at completion by June of next year, the kitchen equipment will be ready on hand,” Bozuhoski said.
In the end, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Human Resources Gerard Antoine said he thought that Harripersad’s and Bozuhoski’s presentation was “very thorough.”
The district’s $32 million bond was passed in 2015. It was created to fund extensive repairs and upgrades to the district’s four schools, including security and fire alarm systems, renovations to existing facilities and new construction.New windows and doors have already been installed at all four schools and the roofs have been repaired at all of the schools.