A turf athletic field and other facility upgrades are coming to Southold schools.
Southold School District residents approved a nearly $9.8 million capital improvement project by a 257-192 vote on Tuesday night.
“Now we get to work,” Superintendent David Gamberg said. “We believe this to be a very positive result for the entire Southold community.”
Mr. Gamberg and school board president Paulette Ofrias said they were speechless shortly after the results were counted.
Ms. Ofrias had tears in her eyes as she expressed her gratitude to the community’s support.
“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she said shortly after the results were counted.
The district’s plan to pay for the construction project includes using $2 million in reserves and issuing a $7.76 million bond to fund the rest.
The district’s previous $14 million capital improvement bond, which carries a 20-year term, is scheduled to be paid off in June 2018. That bond was issued in 1998 for construction projects at the elementary school, district auditorium and secondary gymnasium.
The $14 million bond still costs the average homeowner about $200 a year. The new $7.76 million bond proposal is estimated to cost the average homeowner $130 annually, which school officials described as a “$70 reduction” per year for the average household when compared to the previous debt that’s about to be paid off.
Some of the proposed construction projects include a new track and synthetic turf multi-sport athletic field with organic fill, added security features, reconstructed parking areas with bus loops and student drop-off zones, conversion of the existing weight room into a TV production studio and relocation of the weight room to the athletic storage area.
Also included for the high school are a refurbished ROTC classroom, upgraded art room and photo studio and renovated cafeteria dining areas.
At the elementary school, the proposal involves upgrading the library media center and creating flexible learning spaces, among other projects.
School officials estimate construction will start in 2017 and take about two years to complete. Work is expected to be done over the summer, as well as nights, weekends and school holidays.
Top photo: Superintendent David Gamberg and school board president Paulette Ofrias hug after they reviewed the voting results with district clerk Patti DiGregorio (right). (Credit: Jen Nuzzo photos)