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Greenport’s Capital Improvement Plan heads to voters this week

06/24/2019 6:00 AM |

On Wednesday, Greenport residents will vote on the school district’s $23.8 million bond project to begin renovations on the school’s aging infrastructure.

The proposal, known as the Capital Improvement Plan, would be funded entirely through bonds issued to the community.

Construction on the project, through Tetra Tech Architects and Engineers, could begin as early as summer 2020. If approved, it would repair, renovate and rebuild the school “for future generations,” Superintendent David Gamberg said.

After months of community input and meetings, district representatives decided the ballot will be split into two propositions.

The first proposition, which totals $21.2 million, includes renovations of all student bathrooms, outdoor bleachers and playground, exterior parking lot and signage, elementary library, tech shop, cafeteria, classrooms for NJROTC, art and home economics and gym locker rooms.

That proposition also includes electrical and heating upgrades, a new auxiliary gym, security upgrades to doors, cameras and technology, upgrades to interior plaster walls, flooring, ceilings and lockers, parking lot reconstruction, exterior masonry work, creation of flexible learning spaces, relocation of administrative offices for security purposes, irrigation and recondition of athletic fields and a new PA/clock system to provide mass notification.

Cost estimates for upgrades, Mr. Gamberg said at a previous board meeting, were based on a mandatory building condition survey conducted in 2015 and other previous audits.

The second proposition, capped at $2.6 million, includes the addition of a six-lane track and reconstruction of four exterior tennis courts. The second proposition is contingent on the passage of the first, Mr. Gamberg said.

The first proposition would also construct a new marine career shop for high school students called the Porter Marine Program.

The engineering- and technology-focused initiative would give students the opportunity to study various marine industry trades and partner with roughly 50 local marine businesses, Mr. Gamberg said. Local marine industry representatives met with Mr. Gamberg June 10 to discuss the potential program. In months past, the superintendent has also met with representatives from Peconic Landing and the village to discuss the project, he said Tuesday.

The program could accommodate students from neighboring districts, like Southold and Mattituck-Cutchogue, instead of requiring them to travel over an hour to Bellport for specific BOCES programs, Mr. Gamberg said at a previous board meeting.

If the proposition passes, the average household with an assessed value of $6,400 would see a tax increase of roughly $799 annually over the 20-year life of the bonds to pay for them.

In an email, Mr. Gamberg said the feedback on the project has been largely positive. A previous $29.8 million version of the plan, proposed Feb. 5, included a turf field. The district removed the field from the project after negative community feedback, he said.

“I think many people recognize the need for the Capital Project,” he said. “Some of the concerns expressed early on with the scope were addressed by lowering the total amount, and making it two separate propositions.”

The district had scheduled a community hearing to recap the bond project Wednesday, Mr. Gamberg said.

“I think it is extremely important to invest in Greenport schools,” he said. “There is ample evidence, and abundance of research that speaks to the direct connection between a safe, healthy and vigorous environment for learning and the academic success of students.”

If the proposal fails, Mr. Gamberg said the Board of Education will meet, reevaluate its options, and consider pursuing a scaled down version of the project in the 2019-20 academic year.

Voting will take place Wednesday, June 26 in the Greenport gymnasium from 2 to 8 p.m.

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