The Rocky Point Board of Education on Monday unanimously approved a referendum to put one proposal for three capital reserve projects up for vote in a public election on Nov. 19.
The estimated project costs include $1,010,000 for the replacement of the grass field with synthetic turf, $680,000 for the reconstruction of the existing track and $300,000 for the reconstruction of instructional laboratories. The projects would be submitted for building aid reimbursement from NYS at approximately 70 percent of the actual project costs. Reimbursement could potentially reduce the net cost to $597,000.
When a question of whether or not the projects could be proposed separately was raised, the board explained that building aid would not be received if the outdoor projects were not tied to indoor improvements.
“If we are going to do outside improvements, which are called site improvements, we need to have something done inside the building in order to get state aid,” Ring said. “Something outside would have to be linked to something inside. It couldn’t be a three-part vote unless it was noted that the other two parts can’t pass without the first passing.”
Board president Michael Nofi said the board made the final decision to put all three together. At the meeting, community members again voiced differing opinions on the matter.
“The one concern that I have is we should look at maybe refurbishing the bathrooms,” said Jennifer Intravaia. “A lot of them have not been updated since I went to high school here, which is a very long time ago. Not that I’m against artificial turf, I think we have to look at the actual needs in the school. My concern is the cost of the turf may eventually be pushed to the taxpayers.”
Ring mentioned that bathrooms have been worked on after a referendum approved in 2011, and they will continue to be worked on. With regards to future costs of the turf being put on the taxpayers, board vice president Diane Burke assured community members that all aid received would be put back into the reserves so that would not be the case.
“If the project passes and turf goes in, we know down the road in 10-15 years there’s going to be another expense to again improve [the turf],” she explained. “We have spoken to the administration and said that if this project gets passed, we want that money that’s coming back in aid to go back in to the capital reserve fund so that it’s not a hit on the taxpayer in 10-15 years when that turf needs to be replaced.”
Joe Spallina, who has been a coach at Rocky Point, Stony Brook University and with Major League Lacrosse, was vocal in his support for the turf field.
“I can tell you personally having been an athlete on that field and then for years being a phys-ed teacher on that field, the condition of the stadium field used to be the pride and joy of this community but it has deteriorated greatly,” he said. “How bad has it gotten the last five years? A lot worse, and with that being said…how bad is it going to get in the next five years? When you put those things together you’re going to have a situation where the field is going to become a major issue.
“The facility at Rocky Point, it’s not good enough for my kids and honestly, it’s not good enough for anyone in this room’s kids and it’s a situation that’s only going to get worse. I think this can help bring pride back into Rocky Point.”
If approved, construction would begin on June 22, 2013 and the planned completion date for all three projects would be Aug. 30 of next year.
“This is a decision for the community to make and we look forward to them making it,” he said. “Whatever the community decision is, whether it be for or against, we as a board will execute on their wishes to the best of our ability.”