Great Neck schools undergo maintenance planned prior to bond issue

Great Neck schools undergo maintenance planned prior to bond issue
Great Neck South High School was ranked #29 on Niche's list of the top 100 K-12 schools in the state. (Photo from the Great Neck Public Schools)

The Great Neck School District had embarked on long-planned maintenance projects at three schools this summer, preceding the start of renovations related to the $68.3 million bond passed back in May.

School officials said these maintenance projects, which are based on priority, are part of their five-year capital plan to keep up maintenance at the schools. These items range from fixing an fuel oil tank at E.M. Baker Elementary School to paving roads and resurfacing tennis courts.

“Every year we have capital projects that we identify in the budget,” Teresa Prendergast, superintendent of Great Neck Public Schools, said in an interview. “The projects are based on priority, but we’ve got projects going on in every one of our buildings.”

Other projects include fixing the roadway leading up to John F. Kennedy Elementary School, upgrading the facade of North Middle School and fixing the parking lots of the Village School and Parkville Elementary School. The plan also aims to upgrade the walkways and roads connecting South Middle School, South High School and the Phipps Administration Building.

“These are just some of the projects,” Barbara Berkowitz, president of the school board of education, said in an interview. “We constantly do building and road studies to see what things are needed.”

The completion time for each of these projects depends on factors like scale, weather, school hours of operation and project type, officials said. Putting in new windows, for example, involves a 10 week fabrication process.

“It varies,” Alfredo Cavallaro, director of facilities and operations, said in an interview. “Some projects will take longer.”

Smaller projects that continue into the school year will go on at times that will avoid disrupting classes, such as weekends, vacations or later hours, officials added.

The bond related projects, on the other hand, are not expected to start until at least next summer. Prendergast said that school officials are in talks with their architects and planning to get feedback from relevant committees and the community.

“We’re in the early stages now,” Prendergast said.

Prendergast also noted that each project must be voted on and approved by the state’s Education Department. While time varies, the approval process can take 32 weeks – or roughly eight months.

But the school intends to keep residents posted on any developments.

“Starting next week, we’re going to have updates on our district website,” Berkowitz said in a Thursday interview.

The total cost of these renovations is slated to be around $77.84 million, with $9.5 million being drawn from the district’s reserve funds. The $68.3 million bond will help pay for what officials describe as critical projects and building enhancements across the schools district.

School officials previously said this will include items like roof replacements, masonry reconstruction and window and door replacements. Those repairs will cost $51.7 million.

The remaining $26.1 million goes toward educational and building enhancements like science labs, auditorium renovations, library centers and a new parking lot.

This bond is worth $17.56 million less than the $85.9 million bond narrowly rejected in February. It scrapped construction of a new building, reduced how broad alternations at the E.M. Baker School would be and reduced additions and alterations to the Clover Avenue School.

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