Capital bond could reach $26M: Cardillo

Capital bond could reach $26M: Cardillo

Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Charles Cardillo said Thursday that the district was considering up to $26 million in projects  to enhance the infrastructure needs of its three schools most of which would be financed in a capital bond that would be presented to voters as early as December.

In a presentation during the board of education’s meeting, Cardillo said the district is eyeing projects that would improve its science and fine arts program and expand cafeteria space, adding that the district’s long-term capital plan is still analyzing the necessity of projects to upgrade various athletic facilities.

The board will hold additional presentations on Sept. 18 and Oct. 2 to further review the projects considered in the capital plan, but Cardillo said the board would like to seek a community-wide vote on a bond in December rather than in May 2014, when it would coincide with the district’s annual budget.

“While there’s still infrastructure needs we have to address, there are educational, programatic needs that really could be put at a higher value for us to begin to look at as a district,” Cardillo said.

The Manhasset School District completed $31.85 million in capital improvement projects from 2006-13 paid for by a previous bond approved by district voters. An additional $3 million taken out in bonds during that time was not issued and may be used on a future referendum, officials said.

Rosemary Johnson, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, said during Thursday’s presentation that a $24,706,758 bond – issued at $7 million in 2015 and $17.7 million in 2016 – would result in a $196 annual tax increase on a Manhasset home valued at $1,016,400.

The Manhasset School Community Association has also gifted the district up to $45,000 to turn one of the Secondary School’s community centers into an art gallery and up to $250,000 for what officials called a “mutually agreed upon capital project” in the future. The SCA also donated $12,000 to cover the cost of the art gallery’s doors and the Manhasset Senior Frolic Committee also allocated $15,000 for various landscaping and tree maintenance at the secondary school.

At the Manhasset Secondary School, the district is considering $1.8 million in renovations to five science classrooms, lab rooms and chemical storage and preparatory rooms while also relocating its technology room to another part of the building for the $307,500 construction of an additional science classroom.

By doing this, Cardillo said, administrators would be better equipped to create flexible schedules and class sizes as enrollment increases in the next few years.

Laboratory rooms at the district’s elementary schools would also be renovated to provide students and educators with more physical space, an issue Cardillo said became apparent throughout the science department.

“As our teachers work with our students, they’re working under conditions that are very tight in some of the classrooms,” Cardillo said. “We’re trying to restructure and renovate that so we have more space so students, if they’re in a lecture, they have more room.”

The district is also considering more than $5 million in renovations to its arts and music classrooms at the Manhasset Secondary School, which includes the relocation of its arts rooms to space on the third floor reserved for central administration. If that were to happen, Cardillo said, the district would move the administration to the site of its current bus garage, a $2.65 million project. 

By freeing up the art rooms, the district would create additional space for its music program. Its current chorus room, Cardillo said, would be used as a general meeting space for large group presentations.

Renovations are also being considered to band and chorus rooms at Shelter Rock and Munsey Park elementary schools, which Cardillo said would expand space to accommodate more students in each classroom.

“As you go from room to room, whether it be a music or arts room, it’s not the room that’s energizing us, it’s the instructor with the kids and the parents who’ve given support in the community for their kids who really have a passion for the music and arts,” Cardillo said. “This is really taking a big commitment for the music and arts program.”

The committee identified a $2.3 million renovation to expand the size of Munsey Park Elementary School’s dining hall, which Cardillo said would make for safer lunch lines and give students more time to eat. A larger seating area, he said, would cut down on overcrowding the cafeteria area and allow students to socialize without disturbing surrounding classrooms.

A $1.44 million renovation was identified at the Manhasset Secondary School to ease overcrowding. Air-conditioning and ceiling and lighting replacement – which was estimated to cost $366,479 – is also being considered at Shelter Rock Elementary School’s cafeteria.

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