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Jun 12, 2018 2:57 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Remsenburg-Speonk School District Discusses Renovations

Larry Salvesen, an architect at BBS Architects & Engineers, presented a list of recommended repairs for the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School on Monday night. ELSIE BOSKAMP
Jun 12, 2018 3:36 PM

The Remsenburg-Speonk School District is in preliminary discussions with a Patchogue-based architectural firm regarding ground maintenance and building repairs for the elementary school.

At Monday night’s Board of Education meeting, Larry Salvesen, an architect with BBS Architects & Engineers, the same firm that previously completed the school’s Building Condition Survey, presented a list of recommended structural updates, including a shingled roof, vinyl floors and new ceiling panels.

Mr. Salvesen was asked by the district to perform a Conceptual Planning Scope, which was done from March though June, in which he surveyed the entirety of the school and documented the necessary and recommended repairs. The suggestions made by Mr. Salvesen will be taken under consideration by the board and a decision regarding what repairs will be completed is expected in the coming months.

“The things we’re talking about with the building are going to be focused on building and site infrastructure, physical condition and needing to maintain your building and grounds,” Mr. Salvesen said at the meeting.

Since 2011, the district has been repairing the building on an as-needed basis—including, installing a new boiler, replacing kitchen appliances, repairing damaged concrete and improving building drainage—but an “urgent” need to replace the school’s roof pushed the board to contact Mr. Salvesen, School Board President Deirdre DeVita said.

According to Ronald Masera, the school’s superintendent and principal, the roof, which dates back to the early 1990s, has cost the district upward of $30,000 in updates over the past several years, but leaks are still frequent. Mr. Salvesen said he has already assembled a roof replacement plan, which will swap the existing rubber roof for a new flat roof and shingled pitched roof section. Mr. Masera noted that previous estimates for a new roof installation amounted to approximately $1.2 million.

Other suggested repairs included updating the school’s baseball fields to allow for improved drainage, sealing cracks in the parking lot, which is about 10 years old, removing asbestos tiles that sit beneath classroom carpets, replacing sagging and damaged ceiling panels with humidity resistant material, replacing florescent lighting with LED lights, repairing windows, restoring the water-damaged side wall of the gym, fixing cracks in the chimney and updating the school’s existing doorknobs to lever handles with high security locksets.

Some community members in attendance at the meeting expressed concerns regarding the long list of proposed renovations, but Mr. Masera said that the plans were “very exploratory right now,” and noted that many of the recommendations were necessary for “making sure the kids have a safe and healthy environment to learn.”

Ms. DeVita and Mr. Masera urged community members to voice their opinions and concerns regarding the suggested construction, and said that the board will be appointing a committee, composed of community members, to refine the list of suggested repairs to those that are deemed most necessary.

“We’re now taking more of a grand overview, projecting several years out, to see what is going to be required,” Ms. DeVita explained. “If we let our building fall into despair to the point where fixing it costs a lot more than maintaining it at this time, that would be irresponsible.”

Although costs are still unknown, as they depend on which projects the district chooses to take on, Mr. Masera said that he anticipates using the district’s $400,000 in capital reserves and hopes to fund the remaining costs with bonds and state aid. The school is guaranteed a minimum of 10 percent in state aid over a 15 year period, but could receive considerably more, according to Mr. Salvesen.

Preliminary timelines suggest that, following the formation of the district-appointed committee, a bond counsel could begin preparing a resolution for the board to adopt as early as July and a potential vote on the bond could then happen in October. After the vote, and the New York State Education Department’s approval of the project, contractor bids will be put out and construction can begin as early as next summer.

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