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.
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."