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$45.9M bond OKd for Rockville Centre schools’ upgrades

Jennifer Sullivan teaches her ninth-grade Living Environment class

Jennifer Sullivan teaches her ninth-grade Living Environment class at the South Side High School in Rockville Centre. (Feb. 2, 2011) (Credit: Steve Pfost)

A $45.9 million bond proposal to fund new construction and renovations in the Rockville Centre school district passed Tuesday night, with almost 60 percent of voters approving the measure.

Of the 3,543 residents who voted, 2,078 voted in favor, while 1,465 voted against the bond that will fund the construction of additions to both South Side High School and Watson Elementary school. The average home will see a tax increase of about $128 per year for the 30-year life of the bond, the district said.

“I’m really thrilled for the community,” Superintendent William Johnson said Wednesday. “This is an investment for their property. This is their schools and their children. And it would enable us to improve the environment in which their children learn.”

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The bond will finance upgrades throughout the district, including providing air-conditioning for all instructional spaces and main assembly spaces in the elementary schools, and upgrading athletic, music, theater and arts facilities. It also would cover needed repairs, such as roof maintenance, masonry reconstruction, building code upgrades, floor repairs, security cameras and boiler replacement in the district’s school buildings, many of which were built in the 1920s.

“This vote is a turning point for the Long Island economy,” said Roger P. Smith, principal of BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers, which will serve as the architect, interior designer, and mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer for the project.

The project also includes expanding the high school to replace 12 classrooms currently in portable trailers and converted classrooms outside the main building. By bringing the classroom space inside, the building would no longer have to be unlocked, and entry would be limited to one door. The high school’s science labs also would be modernized, school officials said.

The Watson Elementary school also will get three new classrooms, additional small group instruction space and more parking. The project is scheduled to begin this summer and end in the summer of 2016.

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