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Aug 30, 2017 12:57 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Architect Pitches $8.7 Million Renovation Plan To East Quogue School Board On Tuesday

East Quogue Board of Education President Chris Hudson during Tuesday's meeting. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Sep 1, 2017 10:07 AM

An architect presented a preliminary $8.7 million renovation plan for the East Quogue Elementary School to the district’s Board of Education on Tuesday evening, at a sparsely attended meeting held a week before the start of the new school year.

John Grillo, an architect with John A. Grillo Architects in Port Jefferson, is proposing a series of upgrades to the Central Avenue school, work that includes redoing some classrooms and the custodian’s office, renovating several bathrooms and upgrades to the gymnasium.

Mr. Grillo, who was hired by the district toward the end of winter, also pitched renovations to the nurse’s office so it is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally, his plan calls for some exterior work, including the installation of new sidewalks and asphalt, and sets aside funding for technology upgrades throughout the building.

“Last night was the first night it was presented to the board,” said East Quogue School Superintendent Robert Long, explaining why the presentation, given before only three members of the public, was not advertised by his board. “And we anticipate many more discussions with our community, and the board will make a decision about how to proceed.”

He added that the conversation would resume at the board’s next meeting in September.

If they agree to move forward with the plan, board members would either have to seek public approval of a bond—one that could possibly run for 17 years—or figure out how to pay for the upgrades with a long-term repayment plan, Mr. Long said.

He added that the upgrades are necessary, noting that some of the classrooms and bathrooms have not been renovated and date back to when the school was constructed in the 1950s. “Obviously, there is going to be some wear and tear there,” the superintendent said.

The timing for the project is also appropriate, according to Mr. Long. He explained that the district is close to paying off an approximately $24 million bond from 1999 that was used to construct the north wing of the school. Once that bond is paid off in the 2018-19 school year, Mr. Long said the district would no longer be carrying any long-term debt.

Though numbers are still being crunched, Mr. Long said the $8.7 million proposal would have the same impact on school taxes as the current bond, suggesting that taxes would not have to increase if the district proceeds with the repairs.

“We know we have to do this work because the architect says it,” said Bruce Singer the district’s business official. “We’ve just been trying to figure out how to do it without a tax impact.”

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