It’s been nearly two years since Lynbrook residents approved spending $5.5 million from the school district’s capital reserves to fund various projects, including a new turf field at Marion Street Elementary School, the relocation of the baseball field to South Middle School and an addition to North Middle School that would feature new music rooms, an elevator and exterior restrooms.
Also in the 2012 proposition were the improvements of track and field locations at South, including the installation of a discus pad. That project has been approved by the State Education Department, said Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations and information systems, and will break ground this summer.
The turf field and baseball field relocation were completed earlier in the school year, but construction hasn’t started at North, and now, administrators say, the project is over budget due to long delays by SED.
At its second budget hearing on Feb. 26, the board had to decide whether to ask the public if it could fund the full project or scale it back. Lynch said when the bids for the project were opened on Feb. 5, they came in about $775,000 over budget.
The board voted 6-0 in favor of funding the full project. Trustee Cathy Papandrew was absent. In May, the public will vote on using the $775,000 from the district’s capital reserves to fund the full project.
“I don’t think it’s fair to the people who have students going to North Middle School to scale this back,” said Trustee Sean Strife. “That’s what they voted for. That’s what they deserve to get.”
According Lynch, the project was held up for several reasons, including Hurricane Sandy. Schools that were damaged in the storm jumped to the top of the approval line and put projects like the North addiaddition on the back burner.
Due to the long delays, Lynch said the price of materials has gone up. Also, when SED reviews a project, he added, the entire building is put under a microscope, so a better ventilation system must now be installed in the faculty room.
The turf field project came in $150,000 under budget, Lynch said, so those funds will also be used to fund the North addition.