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Saturday, December 20, 2014
Extension, turf fields part of South Side High School bond
District outlines $32 million in planned expenditures if bond is approved

On Jan. 8, at the first of three consecutive weekly school bond meetings, the Rockville Centre Board of Education decided, preliminarily, that the district would seek to borrow just over $32 million for renovations to South Side High School and the administration building.

Assistant Superintendent Robert Bartels estimated that the cost of the school bond to the average village homeowner would be $45 per year for every $10 million the district borrows.

The second meeting, on Tuesday, after the Herald went to press, was to focus on the funding needed for work on South Side Middle School and the elementary schools. The last meeting, on Jan. 22, will be a review and finalization of the decisions made in the first two meetings. Each of the meetings was scheduled to include a question-and-answer session among members of the public, the Board of Education and BBS Architects & Engineers, a firm based in Patchogue that the district has hired to coordinate the renovations. The bond vote will take place on March 19.

At the Jan. 8 meeting, school board trustees examined a list of requests from the RVC School Improvement Bond Compact Committee and the architectural recommendations line by line, in the interest of reducing costs where possible. From the original list, the trustees and architects were able to cut nearly $1.4 million.

Make it whole

The board approved in full the most expensive portion of the bond — the suggested new construction and renovation of the high school, which would result in the elimination of the portable units and the creation of permanent classrooms connected to the school.

According to Roger Smith, BBS’s principal architect, the removal of the classrooms in the portables behind the school would help make the school safer — a goal of renewed importance after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“That would be, number one, I think the greatest amount of security that you could change with this school,” Smith said. “You have a large number of doors that are open all day long … to be able to flex from those portables into the main building. When the addition is put in place, that is eliminated and security changes dramatically.”

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