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Thursday, August 21, 2014
Bellmore-Merrick Central District Board mulls $47.8M capital bond
(Page 2 of 3)
Scott Brinton/Herald Life
A Central District-wide renovation plan developed by BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers calls for $12 million in renovation work at Mepham High School, including new science laboratories, bathrooms and a synthetic-turf athletic field.

If the bond were to be put to a vote in its current form and passed, taxes would rise $94 per year for the average household, or a total of $1,410 over the bond’s 15-year repayment period, according to Cynthia Regal, the district’s deputy superintendent for business.

DeTommaso said that district officials would now review BBS’s proposal, looking for ways to reduce the cost of the bond.

Saving energy, saving money

District officials said that the bond proposal would be close to $60 million if it funded all needed repairs, including heating and lighting improvements, but $12 million worth of energy-improvement work was removed from the plan because it could be funded through an energy performance contract, or EPC, which the Board of Education is now considering.

The energy performance contract would carry no cost for the district. If it fell short of its energy-saving projections, the energy service company that did the improvements would pay the district the difference, according to DeTommaso. Officials are currently mulling whether to pursue an EPC.

Over the coming weeks, Board of Education trustees will study BBS’s proposal before presenting a more finalized plan at a public meeting in September.

Synthetic-turf debate

Ted Tanenbaum, a former Bellmore Elementary District and Central District trustee, questioned the inclusion of synthetic-turf athletic fields in the bond proposal. Acknowledging that artificial-turf fields would be “a wonderful thing,” Tanenbaum said that districts have traditionally paid for the fields through charitable donations.

And, he said, the district’s fields are in poor condition today largely because they have been overused by community groups, and not by the district’s athletic teams. Tanenbaum said he worries that overuse of the proposed fields by outside teams could shorten their usable life.

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