Southold plans to use extra cash to spiff up high school cafeteria

FILE PHOTO |  The Southold School District expects to save as much as $400,000 on its proposed roof replacement project.

Southold High School students may have a brighter and cheerier place to spend their lunch hour in coming years.

That’s because the school district expects to save as much as $400,000 on its proposed roof replacement project by switching from slate to a heavy-duty asphalt surface on a portion of the roof. The savings will be used to spiff up the cafeteria and, if there’s any money left over, to move high school administrative offices closer to the building’s main entrance.

The district will hold a vote on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 3 to 9 p.m. in the high school gymnasium to authorize it to spend $2.5 million from its capital reserve fund on the project.

This past May, along with the annual budget vote, the public approved the transfer of money from the district’s reserve fund to the capital fund, but a second vote in a new school year was required in order to actually spend the money.

“The savings can be applied without any impact [on the budget],” Southold Superintendent David Gamberg said during a recent walk-through of the cafeteria. “We’re being judicious with the money we spend. We should not have to bond any of this kind of work.”

The roof work is slated to be bid out later this school year and completed over the 2013 summer break.

Architect Jim Weydig of BBS Architecture in Patchogue said he’d like to meet with high school students later this year to get an idea of their priorities for a renovated cafeteria.

He said his top priority is to make the basement space more inviting by concealing piping in the ceiling, providing better lighting than the current fluorescent bulbs and possibly reworking the logistics of the cafeteria line.

“We can make it more appealing. It can be a decent place to have lunch and get things done,” Mr. Weydig said during the walk-through. “There are very creative ways our interior designers have come up with” to change the space.

He said many other school districts have cafeterias that are multi-functional and can be used for public meetings and other events.

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