2018-01-17 / Front Page

MSD bond vote set for Tuesday

Voters asked to approve millions for renovatons

By Michael Scro

The Massapequa School District will be holding a special referendum on Tues., Jan. 23 for asking the public to approve an approximate $41.8 million bond. The vote includes two separate propositions that focus on updating aging classroom spaces, renovating bathroom facilities, upgrading physical education and athletic facilities, and installing district-wide air conditioners.

The district’s architects, H2M Architects and Engineers, will handle work for both projects.

The first proposition asks voters to approve various upgrades to an estimated 370 instructional spaces and general classrooms throughout the six elementary schools, and three-story wing at Berner Middle School.  Upgrades include casework, flooring, lighting, ceiling tiles, unit ventilators and painting.

 “Over the last few years, our educational curriculum has rapidly evolved to provide our students with a high quality learning experience, however our classroom facilities have remained the same,” Superintendent of Massapequa Schools Lucille Iconis said.  “If approved by our district voters, these enhancements will complement our world-class educational program.”

According to the district and H2M architects, many of the bathrooms and classrooms are original to the building dating back over 50 years, and have long since exceeded their useful life.

Also included in proposition one are renovations to bathroom facilities at the six elementary schools, Berner Middle School, and the Massapequa High School Ames Campus.  Should voters approve the $19.6 million for proposition one, the district will then add $9 million from its capital reserve to fund to cover the total cost of the projects, which come to $28.6 million

 Proposition two, for a cost not to exceed $13.2 million, would allow the district to install air conditioning in approximately 500 classrooms across the district.  These would be multi-zone split systems replacing the current window air-conditioning units used in select classrooms, which the district has rendered “inefficient.”

 If approved, the district will have over 200 air conditioning units they would need to dispose of, and Deputy Superintendent of Massapequa Schools Alan Adcock classified them as “huge commercial units” of 220 volts and between 20,000 and 30,000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit).

In total, the two projects will cost $41.8 million. The district would have to borrow $32.8 million with the remaining coming from the district’s capital reserve fund. With a bond term of 15 years and estimated state aid at $22.2 million, the anticipated tax impact per year on the average home will be $28, according to school officials.

The district anticipates receiving 53.3 percent back on its improvement costs under New York State Building Aid, according to the District’s Superintendent of Finance, Alan Adcock. According to district officials, a majority of the proposed projects represents items from a New York State-mandated 2015 buildings condition survey, and were not addressed in the 2014 voter-approved bond.

As for a time-line of when the project will be completed, the district has said that phasing of the projects is largely dependent on the New York State Education Department’s approval of the plans, receiving final bids, general market conditions, interest rates and the availability of contractors.

Earlier this year, the school board and district considered including a third proposition for a Berner aquatic center in the bond, however they chose to delay that vote to allow for more time for gathering research and answering questions from the community. 

 “It is anticipated that the aquatic center will be on the ballot as a separate proposition for the school board trustee election and budget vote in May,” Adcock said.

Polls will open at 6 a.m. on Jan. 23 and close at 9 p.m., and voting locations will be at Massapequa High School, Fairfield Elementary School, Lockhart Elementary School and McKenna Elementary School. 

For more information on the bond and absentee ballots, please visit www.msd.k12.ny.us.

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