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Oct 11, 2017 10:58 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Quogue School Renovations Now Stand At $8.4M; Bond Vote Could Happen In March

Superintendent Robert Long addressed East Quogue taxpayers at Tuesday night's subcommittee meeting. VALERIE GORDON
Oct 11, 2017 11:11 AM

East Quogue School District taxpayers are expected to vote in March 2018 on a proposed $8.4 million bond referendum that, if approved, would fund an assortment of renovations to the Central Avenue elementary school.

School Board members Dianna Gobler and Brian Babcock, and East Quogue Superintendent Robert Long, all members of the district’s renovation subcommittee, announced at a sparsely attended meeting on Tuesday evening that they had trimmed some $300,000 in spending over the past few weeks.

Originally, officials said the proposed work—which includes the renovation of classrooms and bathrooms, upgrades to the gymnasium, and the installation of a security vestibule in the main lobby that would require visitors be buzzed into the school two times—would cost close to $8.7 million.

Mr. Long said subcommittee members are continuing to look for ways to trim spending, with the goal being to minimize the projected impact on taxpayers. He explained that a prior $6.9 million bond that was used to pay for the north wing of the school will be retired at the end of the 2018-19 school year, and that the plan is for the new bond to essentially replace the old one, resulting in a “zero to minimal tax impact.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Long said it was too early in the process to estimate how much the tax rate, which now stands at $11.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, would increase if the bond is approved in March.

If approved, the work on the building is not expected to begin until the 2020-21 school year, according to Mr. Long.

Melissa Donahoe, a mother of two from East Quogue and one of only six members of the public to attend Tuesday’s meeting, said she is “100 percent” in favor of the proposed renovations. Ms. Donahoe, whose daughter Hailey is a fifth-grader at the school, said the building, which dates back to the 1950s, is showing its age.

“The first thing people are going to look at is the school,” she said. “If that’s not in good shape then what is that saying about our community?”

John Grillo, owner of John A. Grillo Architects in Port Jefferson and the architect for the project, was not in attendance on Tuesday night. He is expected to attend the next meeting of the Board of Education, scheduled for Tuesday, October 17, at 7 p.m., during which members are expected to share more details of the renovation plan.

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The presentation given in August listed the total costs as $8,328,025. It is available on the district's website.
By cmac (162), East Quogue on Oct 11, 17 6:13 PM
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