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Gerald Poole

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Shoreham-Wading River school district is considering converting the closed fitness center into a wrestling center. Photo by Kyle Barr Photo by Kyle Barr

Shoreham-Wading River’s ailing fitness center may see a new lease on life, should the puzzle pieces come together.

At a July 8 meeting, Superintendent Gerard Poole presented the idea to the school board that the district could convert the old Joe Ferreira Fitness Center and turn it into a wrestling center, while at the same time taking the auxiliary gym and turning that into a new fitness center.

Though the thought is still up in the air, the plan would require making major renovations to the old fitness center, located just to the east of the main high school building. The fitness center, built in the 1980s, was closed in July last year when an assessment of the building by the school district’s internal engineer showed the flooring was not up to code for constant physical activity. The building would require additional steel supports, toilet renovations to make it ADA compliant, new HVAC, emergency lighting and an upgraded fire alarm system.

Last October, the district said the renovations could cost upward of $200,000.

The district moved exercise equipment into room A101, right next to the cafeteria. Room A102 will also be used for fitness come September.

In a survey sent to students by the district about whether they would use a fitness center within the high school, 75 percent responded yes.

At the July meeting, Poole said the district had originally included the fitness center as part of its 2015 bond project, which is currently in the midst of renovating the high school parking lot. Though the school district could use additional funds left over to remake the fitness center, it won’t know how much funds it has left until the end of August, the superintendent said. There is no current funding in the 2019-20 budget to convert either the auxiliary gym or old fitness center.

Local residents who once extensively used the old fitness center for exercise during non-school hours have said they wished to be allowed to use the machinery, though Poole said they would have to look at hours and access for nonstudents on the off hours.

In addition the district said this change would potentially allow them to use the outside building as a polling place, instead of the usual gym space. School’s being used as polling places has been a sore spot for several North Shore school districts as they continue to look at security concerns.

Poole said, in speaking to the Suffolk County Board of Elections, there is no requirement that the district reuse the same space.

“It’s a matter of looking at the layout seeing where everything can fit,” Poole said.

 

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Shoreham Wading River school district earlier this month began construction of a new parking lot at the high school. This is the latest project in the district's 2015 bond renewal project. Photo from Google Maps

Shoreham-Wading River High School students and staff will return to a newly renovated building in September as this month the district began the next step in its 2015 renewal bond project.

Work at the high school commenced in early July and the building will be going through a number of renovations.

“The bond has really given a sense of renewal to the school district,” Gerald Poole, superintendent of schools said.

Last summer, Prodell Middle School’s cafeteria was renovated as part of the bond project. Photo by David Luces

The project will include the reconstruction of the high school’s main parking lot as well as adding an additional bus drop-off loop meant to improve student safety. Renovations will be made to the high school kitchen and cafeteria, main office, guidance office, psychologist and social worker’s office and nurse’s office. Ceilings throughout the building will be repainted.

“The bond [project] will be the first major renovation/construction work since the inception of the high school in 1975,” Poole said.

The high school auditorium will also undergo additional renovations to sound and lighting fixtures after it received new paint, carpeting and seats last summer. Poole said the project will run through August and everything will be done before the start of the school year.

“Over the summer, the auditorium will be getting a downstairs audio/visual booth,” the superintendent said. “It will have a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. Students in the theater and arts program will really enjoy it.”

Since the bond project was approved four years ago, the district has undertaken a slew of projects.

The first phase of the bond project was completed in 2016 with the reconstruction of Shoreham-Wading River High School’s tennis courts and roof. The high school’s football field was also upgraded with new turf. Phase two involved renovations at both Miller Avenue and Wading River elementary schools. Miller Avenue’s parking lot was reconstructed with additional parking as well as a new bus loop that goes to the rear of the building. The school was also expanded with the addition of new kindergarten classrooms.

Last summer, the middle school got a new cafeteria and kitchen as well as a renovated main office area and library.

The renovated bus loop at Wading River Elementary School. Photo by David Luces

“I am so grateful to the community for supporting this bond back in 2015, it was much needed work,” Poole said. “It has been exciting these past summers and seeing the work happen.”

The superintendent said it has been a satisfying feeling when students, staff and parents come back and they’re just proud of the new spaces.

“It’s been a boost to the school district,” he said.

During construction, the district office will remain open although parking for the North Shore Library will be relocated to the rear of the high school building. In order to access the temporary parking for the library, drivers should bear left at the fork in the driveway toward the district offices rather than right, toward the high school. Also, there will be limited access to the high school campus. Tennis courts, fields and trails will be closed throughout the summer. High school staff will be relocated but phone systems and extensions will remain intact.

“We are pushing to get the parking done as soon as possible,” Poole said.

After renovations are complete, the superintendent said they will be taking a look back at the bond project and evaluating where the district is at.

“We’ll look at the priorities of the district going forward and keep looking for areas where we can improve on,” Poole said.