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Park View Elementary to stay closed during repairs

Repairs are being made to a section of

Repairs are being made to a section of roof at Park View Elementary School that was blown off during Superstorm Sandy. (Nov. 1, 2012) Credit: Heather Walsh

Park View Elementary School in Kings Park will be closed until December or early January for repairs to damage done by superstorm Sandy, officials told more than 300 parents who attended a meeting about the complex Thursday.

Starting Monday, if power has been restored, kindergarten, first and second grade students will be relocated to San Remo -- a former elementary school on Lawrence Road that is being used as an administration building and partially rented by New Beginnings, a child-care center.

Third grade students will temporarily attend Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School on Old Dock Road. Aftercare from Smithtown Recreation Center and before school programs will also take place at Osgood.

Students who ride school buses will be picked up and dropped off at the same stops.

Superintendent Susan Agruso made the announcement this afternoon at Kings Park High School, where officials met with parents and students after the elementary school had its roof blown off during Monday's storm. Park View was among a number of Long Island schools that sustained damage in the storm.

Park View, which has about 500 students, sustained water damage to its second floor classrooms, hallways, some smartboards, and computer room, some first floor hallways and the gym. "To the extent possible, things will remain the same," Agruso told parents. "Your children will have the same classroom teachers and the same . . . classmates."

She said she expects some obstacles. "Lunch is going to be a challenge for the first few days," she said, adding that boxed lunches would be served until food distribution companies can resume business.

All Park View classrooms are being emptied, so teachers will have their own materials. Nonporous items, such as desks, will be cleaned. But items such as paper, clothing, and stuffed animals, must be discarded. The district will try to replace personal property that must be trashed, said Agruso. The company in charge of the cleanup will keep an inventory of such items, she said.

Ceiling and floor tiles containing asbestos will also be removed, and all walls and floors will be tested for hazards, said Agruso. "No one goes into that building until it has been deemed safe," she said.

The district is relying on its insurance company, the federal government, and state aid for the costs of repairing water damage and replacing the roof and contents of the school, said Agruso. Marie Goldstein, the school board president, said no estimate on the cost of repairs was available.

"By next year, we will be made whole," Agruso said. "There should be no impact on the district as far as budget."

Kelly Sacks of Kings Park, said she thought the plan was "very well-organized considering the time frame that we have."

Sacks said her son, who is in third grade, worried about not having the same teacher or classmates. "The least change the best," she said. "I think they did an excellent job."

But Joann DiTaranto, of Kings Park was concerned about not being able to visit her second-grader's classrooms ahead of time. "I don't know what my daughter's room is like," she said. "I want to see the environment before my daughter goes into it."

Maria Cirilli, of Kings Park was "very relieved" for her two children that the same security personnel will work the new location. "Now, when I drop them off, they'll see the same familiar face at the door," she said. "They're so little, I think that's important. They can't really discriminate who's safe and who isn't."

Teachers and staff will be at the door on Monday to greet students and parents and escort them to classrooms, Agruso said, adding, "Monday is going to be like the first day of school."

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