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Lynbrook school officials set to award contracts for seven projects covered by $28.9 million bond

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Lynbrook School District officials will soon award contracts for some of the projects that will be covered by the $28.9 million bond that voters approved in October 2017, which will fund many upgrades and repairs at all of the district’s buildings.

Dr. Paul Lynch, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance, operations and information systems, said that once officials approve bids and award contracts, work on seven projects would begin this summer.

They include the installation of air conditioning in the gymnasiums at Lynbrook North and South middle schools, Waverly Park Elementary School and the Lynbrook Kindergarten Center, and upgrades of the locker rooms at North and South middle schools as well as the wrestling room at the Kindergarten Center.

“These were the first projects approved by the state,” Lynch explained in a statement to the Herald about why the projects will be done first.

The bidding process opened on April 17, and the Board of Education planned to announce contract awards at its meeting on Wednesday, after the Herald went to press. Lynch said district officials were hopeful that the projects would be completed by September. The district will meet with the contractor on May 22, and the timeline will be discussed, but until then, officials could not commit to a timeline, he said.

The bond will also fund many projects at the high school, including three new science classrooms; a larger science research facility; new classrooms for the chorus, band and orchestra; a new classroom for the Career Development Program; a school store, in which career development students will learn how to run a business; and renovations to the auditorium. Many of the new rooms will be housed in a two-story, 33,274-square-foot addition to the high school.

The total cost of all the projects is $33.9 million. In addition to the bond, $5 million will come from reserve funds. Homeowners have seen an estimated average annual increase of $168 in their school taxes. They can find out precisely how much they are paying at www.lynbrookschools.org. Click on the District tab, then Bond, followed by Fast Financial Facts.

The bond was scaled back significantly after residents rejected a $46 million proposal in March 2016. After officials reassessed the district’s needs — an effort that included conducting a voter survey — the $28.9 million bond was approved, 1,254 yes votes to 710 no votes, on Oct. 3, 2017. According to the September 2016 voter survey, 85 percent of respondents said they voted against the first bond because of its high cost. Guided by that survey, the board issued a new proposal, significantly cutting certain projects.

After voters approved the second bond, Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak expressed her gratitude. “We are grateful to the Lynbrook community for their continued support,” she said at the time. “The approval of the bond referendum will enable us to expand, enhance and enrich the three core areas — academics, the arts and athletics.”

Once the first seven projects are finished, Lynch said, the next will be the installation of air conditioning in the gyms at West End and Marion Street elementary schools. Those projects, Lynch said, were part of a second round approved by the state, but he did not specify when other bond items woul be completed. The timeline will depend on the State Education Department’s approval of plans, the bidding process, the general market conditions, interest rates and the availability of contractors.