Administrators and board of education members within the Shoreham-Wading River school district were cheered on by smiling kids last week as they broke ground on the second phase of the $48.5 million renewal bond construction project that will bring much-needed improvements to the district’s elementary schools. The first phase was implemented at the beginning of 2016, with renovated tennis courts and a new turf field at Shoreham-Wading River High School.
Equipped with hard hats and shovels, the district team held back-to-back ground-breaking ceremonies Jan. 19 at the Miller Avenue School and Wading River School to highlight for the students their upcoming construction projects, the majority of which will take place over the summer in order to be completed by the time school starts back up in September.
Some of the work being done includes the construction of four brand new kindergarten classrooms at Miller Avenue School , as well as a complete reconfiguration of the building to make it a more child-friendly and productive space — planned installation of bathrooms in the classrooms, for instance, serves to eliminate daily lesson disruptions caused by frequent and time-consuming trips down the hallway.
“It’s really going to make instruction a lot better,” Miller Avenue School Principal Christine Carlson said.
The Wading River School will see the renovation of 10 classrooms, the addition of four new ones, the construction of a cafetorium, as well as significant interior upgrades like making its bathrooms Americans with Disabilities Act accessible.
Neither building has received major improvements since they were built in the 1960s and 1970s, and so, the bond will also go toward to replacing a lot of the original infrastructure like the weathered roofs and windows.
“It’s a long road [still], but it’s great and exciting,” board trustee and co-president of the bond committee Michael Lewis said. “It’s going to be difficult — there’s going to be a lot of construction here, some disruption for the kids and parents, but in September, everyone’s going to be overwhelmed by the amount of work that was done and how great the schools are going to look.”
“This will impact K-12, arts, sports, your typical classroom settings, everything.”
Lewis formed the bond committee with other board members in an attempt to get as much done in as short a period as possible. They spent about nine months reviewing building conditions, weighing options and finding potential upgrades needed to bring the district to “modern standards of design, safety, codes and efficiency” while landing on a total cost that the community would accept.
The $48.5 million bond project was met with overwhelming approval by the community with a vote of 1,421 to 585 on Jan. 13, 2015, allowing the district to get its renovations underway.
“Each of the four schools [including Prodell Middle School] is getting between $12 and $13 million,” Lewis said. “It’s spread pretty evenly, which is great. It’s not a bond that just touches one school. This will impact K-12, arts, sports, your typical classroom settings, everything.” The Shoreham-Wading River district plans to begin construction projects to Prodell Middle School next year.
At the front of Wading River Elementary, the school’s entire student body, as well as its teachers and administrators, joined the board members in a groundbreaking celebration the ceremony, kicked off with a performance by the fifth grade band.
Principal Louis Parrinello addressed the group of kids, calling for a round of applause to the board members.
“They’re here because behind the scenes they’re the ones that helping to make this all happen, plus all your parents at home and community members that voted to make your school even more beautiful for you, and all the little kids that are gonna come forward,” he said. “It’s going to have a big impact.”