Herricks building projects progressing, architect says

Herricks building projects progressing, architect says
Steven P. Walsh of BBS Architecture updates the board of education on capital improvement projects on May 25, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Glasser)

By Samuel Glasser

The Herricks school district’s long-term package of building projects is moving along, with the first construction permits expected to be in hand in June, the district’s architect said Thursday.

Steven P. Walsh of BBS Architecture said the state Education Department, which issues the building permits, asked for additional information after conducting an expedited review of the first-phase plans at the beginning of May.

If the permits are approved by early June, the request for bids could go out by late summer, Walsh said in a presentation to the Herricks school board at its meeting Thursday.

Phase one involves replacing the turf on the Herricks High School athletic field and replacing 20 to 25 percent of the interior doors and all of the door locks district-wide. It is anticipated that construction could begin in October, Walsh said.

Gary Gonzalez, senior project manager with Park East Construction Corp., the construction manager the district hired, said the doors that are being replaced either do not meet current fire rating standards or are well past their useful life. The door project is expected to be complete by January 2018, he said.

The new athletic field would be ready for use in the spring of 2018, said Lisa Rutkoske, the district’s assistant superintendent for business.

As the district prepares to receive the phase-one permits, it would submit plans for phase two: the reconstruction of the high school cafeteria and kitchen, along with new athletic field infrastructure, including a 1,600-seat grandstand and press box, comfort station, storage building and running track.

The state Education Department currently takes approximately 32 to 34 weeks to review plans, Walsh said.

If the phase two plans are submitted in June, “that gets us where we want to be” asking for bids at the end of January 2018, he said.

The plan calls for purchasing the kitchen equipment at that time to be ready for construction to start in June 2018, he said.

The $29.5 million capital improvement plan is largely funded by a $25 million bond issue that was approved by the voters this past December. The rest of the funding comes from capital reserve funds.

The initial design paperwork for the projects was submitted to the state in February.

Also on Thursday, the school board approved the issuance of up to $12 million in one-year tax anticipation notes “in anticipation of taxes to be levied” for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018.

District Superintendent Fino Celano opened the meeting thanking the community for its support in approving the budget “with a 75 percent ‘yes’ vote.” He also cited Herricks High School’s standing in the top 1 percent on the Washington Post’s list of most challenging high schools: 206th nationally, 9th in New York, and 6th on Long Island.

He also congratulated board Trustee Jim Gounaris on his reelection and Trustee Henry Zanetti on his election to the board.

The board also honored 13 members of the professional staff who will have retired by the end of the school year: nine teachers, and one each teaching assistant, guidance counselor, social worker and nurse.

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