Upgrades coming to academic, athletic facilities

Upgrades coming to academic, athletic facilities

The high school football fields may be replaced with turf and capital improvements. File photo

The Northport board of education voted to move forward with improvements to science, athletic, and structural parts of the district Thursday night.

Superintendent Robert Banzer said the major goals of the capital improvements were to replace aging infrastructure and provide students and the community with more useful physical education and athletic facilities.

Infrastructure improvements included replacing bathrooms, windows, and ceilings in classrooms from kindergarten through high school. At the presentation last Thursday night, Banzer went through several photos showing cracked countertops, and antiquated lavatories.

“Some of our buildings are very old and we need to take a cold, hard look at them,” he said.

Tony Resca, a member of the capital projects committee, said the district needed to create state-of-the-art science labs, which would “foster inquiry-based scientific experimentation” and “strengthen overall STEM learning outcomes.”

Changes would include new desks designed to form into lab stations as well as new fume hoods and cabinetry for lab chemicals.

“These lab benches and work desks … are modular, they are moveable and flexible and they can be moved at a moment’s notice to accommodate a wide variety of science-related activities,” Resca said.

Talks for improving the athletic facilities at Northport have been underway for more than a year and projects included better irrigation systems for athletic fields, a new stadium at the high school with a turf field, a new track, a concession stand, outdoor bathrooms, and a replacement of tennis courts.

Paul Klimuszko, director of physical education, athletics and health, and a member of the committee, talked about the importance of replacing certain fields at Northport and improving irrigation at others.

“Whether it rains during the game or days before, this is what the field typically ends up looking like during a game,” Klimuszko said as he pointed to a photo of the high school football team playing in a field covered in mud. He also said that field was heavily used, which diminished its quality and made it less accessible to the greater Northport community.

“Even when the team is out for half-time, the marching band is putting on a half-time show, so that field never gets a break,” he said.

Under Banzer’s suggestion, the district will now seek prices and plans from an architect to achieve the plans listed in capital projects that were voted for in the May budget.