Great Neck ed board OKs $1.9M construction management contract

Great Neck ed board OKs $1.9M construction management contract
Teresa Prendergast, the Great Neck school district superintendent, addresses the school board during Monday's meeting. (Photo by Samuel Glasser)

By Samuel Glasser

The Great Neck school board on Monday approved a $1.9 million contract for a construction management firm to oversee the district’s $77.8 million capital plan.

Savin Engineers of Pleasantville, N.Y., was awarded the contract to make sure the projects come in on time and on budget, the school district superintendent, Teresa Prendergast, said.

Alfredo Cavallaro, the district’s director of facilities and operations, said three companies responded to the district’s request for proposals from prospective construction managers.

Savin Engineers went through a “thorough vetting process”, school board Trustee Jeffrey Shi said.

The five-year capital program is funded mostly by a $68.3 million construction bond approved by the voters in May. About $9.5 million is being drawn from the district’s reserve funds to pay for the rest of the work.

Among the biggest projects are roof replacements, masonry reconstruction and window and door replacements, which are expected to cost $51.7 million.

Construction is slated to begin in the summer of 2018, pending approval of the work by the state Education Department.

At Monday’s school board meeting, Prendergast reviewed the numerous maintenance projects that were completed throughout the district over the summer, funded by a separate capital reserve fund established in 2015.

The summertime work included masonry repairs, drainage and paving work throughout the district, the installation of a new 7,500-gallon fuel oil tank at E.M. Baker Elementary School, and replacement of the original auditorium seats at Parkville School and the greenhouse at South Middle School.

The buildings “are sparkling clean” and were ready for more than 6,500 students who returned to school Aug. 31, Superintendent Teresa Prendergast said Monday.

The board also approved a contract with TRI Utility Cost Reductions to audit the district’s natural gas and electricity bills. The company will receive 40 percent of whatever refunds it obtains for the district and 40 percent of any savings in the next two years that the district would be entitled to as a result of the audit.

The board also accepted a scholarship Monday named for Linda Musmeci, who taught at Great Neck South Middle School for 26 years. She retired in 2015 and died this year.

The scholarship, established by her family, will award $500 annually to a graduating South High School senior “who had overcome adversity in their life,” her son, Scott Musmeci, said. Some $6,000 has been raised so far.

“The nice thing about this is that the students who graduate this year will have known her from when they were in sixth grade,” Prendergast said.

Prendergast also introduced the district’s new administrators on Monday.

Daniel Holtzman is the new principal of Great Neck North High School. He previously was principal of Shoreham-Wading River High School and replaces Bernard Kaplan, who retired.

Christopher Gitz is a Great Neck South High School alumnus who returns as the principal; he replaces Susan Elliot, who retired. Gitz previously was principal of Lindenhurst High School.

Emily Zucal was appointed principal of Lakeville School, replacing Phyllis Feldman, who retired. Zucal previously was assistant principal of the school.

Neepa Redito is the new assistant principal at Lakeville. She comes from the Herricks school district, where she was the elementary math and science coordinator.

Michael Mensch was named as interim principal of Saddle Rock School.

Prendergast also touted the district’s academic achievements just two weeks into the school year.

Twenty-three Great Neck students are semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship, and five high school musicians have been selected for the New York State School Music Association All-State Conference, slated for Rochester in November.

“To have 23 National Merit semi-finalists and five students selected for NYSSMA is exceptional” on both counts, Prendergast said.

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