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Thursday, December 18, 2014
Schools
Bellmore-Merrick Central District Board mulls $47.8M capital bond
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.

The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District Board of Education is considering a $47.8 million bond proposal to fund new science laboratories, bathrooms, athletic fields and a host of repairs, from masonry and roof work to asbestos abatement and upgrades to art rooms and gymnasiums.

At the Aug. 21 Board of Education meeting, Roger Smith, of the district’s architectural firm, BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers in Patchogue, laid out the costs of a bond proposal that the board could put to a public vote in November or December.

Smith noted that the value of the final proposal is subject to change. The Board of Education must now run through the numbers and determine which projects to keep as part of the proposal and which to reject, if any.

BBS’s proposal includes $7.5 million for new artificial-turf athletic fields, $6 million for new bathrooms and $5 million for new science labs at each of the district’s five schools. Additional improvements include upgrades to art and music classrooms, technology shops, gyms and locker rooms.

The bond would also bring the district into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which mandates that public facilities be handicapped-accessible. In particular, Central District Superintendent John DeTommaso said, bathrooms would become ADA-compliant. And the bond could be used to upgrade the district’s security with new monitoring systems and lockdown vestibules at school entrances, according to BBS.

Board President Susan Schwartz made it clear that $47.8 million is not necessarily the bond’s final figure, and that projects could be removed from the plan. “This board has not really analyzed this,” she said of Smith’s proposal. “This is a big wish list.”

Smith said that he addressed all of the facility concerns raised by site-based committees at each of the district’s five schools –– Grand Avenue and Merrick Avenue middle schools, and Calhoun, Kennedy and Mepham high schools.

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