Update: The bond measure passed Tuesday evening in a 257-192 vote.
Southold School District voters are being asked to go to the polls this Tuesday, Dec. 8 to to weigh in on a $7.8 million bond proposal for school renovations, which range from reconfiguration of classrooms to a new track and artificial turf field, a TV production studio and several safety improvements.
The district is planning to use $2 million from its capital reserve fund for the project, in addition to the $7.8 million bond.
The project is expected to cost an average property owner about $130 annually, but district representatives are quick to point out that, due to the retirement of old debt in 2018, the bond portion of their tax bill is expected to decline in the near future.
The district is currently paying off $14 million in older bond debt, which it is expected to finish paying in 2018. The current bond costs taxpayers an average of $204 annually per household. While taxpayers will initially be paying for the new bond in addition to the old bond payment, they will see a reduction, on average, of $74 dollars per year once the old debt is retired.
The district’s last major renovation was done in 1998, when the elementary school building was constructed, and since then the school has renovated the high school cafeteria, reconfigured administration offices in the high school for added security and replaced the high school roof.
A little more than 800 students were enrolled in the district in the 2014-15 year.
The new work is being broken down by the district into four areas of concern: health and safety, educational space upgrades, community and athletics, and infrastructure and building preservation.
The educational space improvements include upgrades to the high school’s technology shop and computer lab, the conversion of the existing technology shop to a new library and media center, the conversion of the existing library to three classrooms, the conversion of the existing weight room to a television production studio, conversion of an athletic storage area to a weight room, renovations to the art room and photo lab and renovations to the ROTC room. The district also plans to renovate the elementary school library and computer lab.
The athletic improvements include a new six-lane polyurethane track with 150 seats of bleachers, a new synthetic turf multi-sport field and the relocation of JV baseball and softball fields.
The district also plans to install security doors and cameras, improve parking lot lighting and replace deteriorated walkways at both the elementary and high schools, and repoint mortar and replace damaged masonry at the high school.
The vote will be held from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8 in the Junior-Senior High School gym.
A detailed PowerPoint presentation outlining the proposed work is online here, and Southold Superintendent David Gamberg’s video message prepared by the district is below: