William Floyd capital project up for vote
The William Floyd Elementary School’s windows are original from 1956.
“They’re single pane, so that when the wind blows, you feel it,” explained David Beggins, assistant superintendent for business in the William Floyd School District. “And there are hundreds.” The roofing on the district’s elementary schools can be anywhere from 20 to 30 years old, Beggins added. “It’s EPDM, rubberized application or hot-tar roofs; some are an insulated system.” William Floyd, Nathaniel Woodhull and John S. Hobart elementary schools also aren’t air-conditioned. “I’ve fielded dozens of phone calls every time the temperature hits, and they all have second floors,” said William Floyd superintendent Kevin Coster.
Those are some of the infrastructure improvements, along with upgraded secondary auditoriums to sustain and grow the arts and multipurpose athletic fields so girls and boys teams can play on the same night. The district is requesting a $39.4 million capital project vote on Monday, Oct. 30. The district would use $5 million from their capital reserve fund.
If approved, New York State Education Building Aid would fund the $34,470,000. “People remember the recession, when funding stopped on state aid,” Beggins said. “Our building aid has been consistent.” There would be no additional tax impact.
The $34,470,000 already comes from taxpayers throughout the state, explained William Floyd public relations director James Montalto. “But it’s to our advantage to have it used locally. The reason our state building aid ratio is at 88 percent is because we have a high number of free and reduced meals which factors into that.” The money already exists in a pot, he concluded. There are 8,900 students district-wide.
Of the project, $17 million encompasses building repairs and upgrades, Coster said.
That’s new water piping from the outside, fire and alarm panels, electrical systems for the five elementary schools. “We keep needing more electrical supply so we’re preparing for future growth,” Beggins said. “It will be bringing them up to building compliance, but as you grow, those things eventually come to a place where you need them.”
The auditoriums in the high school, William Floyd and William Paca middle schools are proposed for new lighting, sound systems and media systems. Coster cited the district’s “phenomenal fine arts department.”
“The Ocean Arts group practices here daily,” Beggins said of the high school, which also needs some seat replacement. “Students are always doing band and concert performances. It’s heavily used during school time and after.” And the middle schools could upgrade their arts program, he said.
There was concentration on also being fully inclusive.
“Everything has come from a community group or multiple parent organizations,” Coster said, pointing to one particular initiative prompted by Debbie Metz, founder of the Mastic Sports Club Kyle Sports for Special Needs Program. Metz’s site is located at the Moriches Sports Complex; Brookhaven Town donated the space. It opened in 2012. She sat with Coster and William Floyd Board of Education president Bob Vecchio a couple of years ago advocating for a fully adaptive playground. It’s being planned for Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School.
“William Floyd has one of the highest number of children with disabilities,” Metz said. “Where do you have a playground where everyone can play together? They said they would try to implement an inclusive playground in our budget and they came through.”
Accommodating more community groups and girls and boys sports were also focused on. The Lincoln Avenue sports field and sports area would be upgraded with synthetic turf, new rubberized track, new prefabricated press box and lighting upgrades; the sports area near Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary would be enlarged (200 by 380 feet) to include lacrosse, soccer and field hockey and a six-lane rubberized track.
“We’re proposing two fields so that if boys and girls soccer play the same day they won’t have to choose which one gets the space,” Beggins said.
“We’re also opening up the fields for community leagues,” Coster said. “And on any given night you have numerous people walking our track. Now we’ll have two.”
Begins said it’s a 40- to 50-week lead time before construction starts, when and if the project is approved. “It has to get approval, then the architects submit the plans, and then state building facilities management have to approve them and give the green light,” Beggins said. “We have a district architect and the cost estimates come from them.”
Beggins said the construction would fan out in multiple stages, probably starting with the building infrastructure in July. “It would be based on how many trades review it,” he said. “There are electrical panels, HVAC, plumbing; as the plans become developed, we’ll submit them.”
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