Hampton Bays School District OKs $16.8M bond

Hampton Bays High School in Hampton Bays on

Hampton Bays High School in Hampton Bays on May 2, 2012. (Credit: Ian J. Stark)

Voters in the Hampton Bays School District approved a $16.8 million bond proposal Tuesday, paving the way for the district to perform much-needed capital improvement projects, Superintendent Lars Clemensen said.

The referendum, which passed 504-163, will beef up and add to the district's existing facilities, he said. Among the changes: new science labs, tennis courts and a synthetic turf field, which will allow for expanded use. After a football season, the field is unavailable for nine months while being repaired and restored.

The new turf will accommodate the soccer, field hockey, football and lacrosse seasons, he said.

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The bond vote came as a different 15-year-old bond is expiring. In 1997, the district authorized renovations that added hallways, gymnasiums and an auditorium for its schools.

The prior debt service cost the district $1.18 million each year; debt service on the new bond is estimated at $1.10 million yearly.

"We felt that it was the right time to ask the community to replace the annual debt payment with a consistent payment," Clemensen said.

Had the referendum not passed, he said, the average homeowner would have paid $153 less each year.

Among the 67 projects to be funded are the purchase of a generator -- which Clemensen said was vital after the high school became a shelter during superstorm Sandy -- and smaller maintenance fixes such as extending the height of building chimneys.

Taxes on the average home, valued at about $400,000, are about $4,400 each year, he said.

"Money is cheap right now," Clemensen said, "and the cost of labor is a benefit to take advantage of."

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