Voters approve East Rockaway schools bond update


Voters in the East Rockaway School District on Monday approved an update to projects covered by the $27.7 million bond that passed in November 2019. The plans, which will bring no additional cost to taxpayers, were accepted, 117 “yes” votes to 50 “no” selections.

Voters approved the bond in 2019, but district officials sought to use the funds to cover more projects in areas of need. They include replacement of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems at Rhame and Centre avenue elementary schools. Work at Centre Avenue will cost just more than $3 million, while work at Rhame will cost about $2.4 million.

Contingency projects that were previously approved include the high school nurse’s office renovation and floor replacement in the Centre Avenue all-purpose room.

Projects that the original bond funded include:

— Raising the high school’s athletic field and installation of a synthetic-turf field (the new athletic field had a “soft” opening last month)

— New bleachers and a press box at the high school.

— Installation of about 750 feet of bulkhead to protect the fields from Mill River (The Living with the Bay Project, which seeks to make South Shore communities along Mill River — which runs from Hempstead Lake south to Hewlett Bay, just south of Bay Park — more resistant to future storms, and to improve the quality of life in those areas, funded the $1.7 million for this project).

— Exterior masonry work at Centre Avenue Elementary School.

— Renovation of art, science, and family and consumer science classrooms at the high school.

— District-wide improvements to heating, ventilation, electrical and air-conditioning units.

— Alterations to the high school’s technology building to create four single restrooms for use during outdoor community and sporting events.

The projects are being handled by Park East Construction Corp. When the bond was originally approved, Superintendent of Schools Lisa Ruiz thanked voters for their support.

“The board and I would like to thank the community for their support of this bond,” she said in November 2019. “It will bring much-needed renovation and re-pair to our aging facilities and enhance opportunities for our students into the future.”

While several of the projects have started and some have been completed, work at each elementary school and the high school is slated to continue through November.