South Side High School Undergoes Major Overhaul

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. — Construction was recently completed on the $26.6 million expansion and renovation of South Side High School for Rockville Centre Union Free School District in Rockville Centre on Long Island.

The project was part of the district-wide $45.9 million school improvement program, funded by a bond issue that voters approved in 2013. Patchogue, N.Y.-based BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers served as the multi-discipline designer for the entire district-wide construction program, said Roger P. Smith, AIA, LEED AP, BBS principal architect, in a statement.

The two-story, 17,900-square-foot addition to the north site of the main building includes a 2,100-square-foot fitness and weight room on the first floor.

BBS performed a review of existing facilities to create the design plans for South Side and other improvement projects for the district. Based on this research, BBS developed a plan divided into three distinct areas: spatial needs with regard to additional classrooms, administrative offices and other facilities; facility needs that encompassed capital improvements to existing facilities; and site work involving sport fields, playgrounds and parking areas.

Sixty-five percent of the South Side project’s budget was dedicated to new construction, while the other portion was dedicated to renovations. Additions totaled 46,900 square feet, and 45,900 square feet of existing space was renovated.

“The South Side High School project called for a comprehensive rethinking of the existing school facilities through renovation, expansion and site layout revision,” said BBS Project Manager Kenneth G. Schupner, AIA, in a statement. “The redevelopment program has transformed what began as an inefficient multi-building campus into one expanded and upgraded main building situated on a completely redesigned site.”

The campus initially consisted of a main building and five separate smaller structures made up of 12 instructional spaces. To enhance the school’s functionality, the design team created two additions that blended in with the original building and now house spaces that were previously located in temporary structures in addition to new educational and athletic facilities, said BBS Designer Tracy Hansen in a statement.

The two-story, 17,900-square-foot addition to the north side of the main building was constructed before the second structure was added so that the school could use the space to function while other construction activities were happening simultaneously. This wing now serves as the arts education hub, giving art studios a centralized location instead of being spread throughout the campus as they were previously. The first floor houses a photography lab and a portrait studio and a music lab adjacent to existing music and auditorium spaces as well as a 2,100-square-foot fitness and weight room.

A major part of South Side High School’s redesign included a renovation of the outdoor athletic facilities, including an 81,500-square-foot multi-sport, synthetic turf field.

The second addition was larger, totaling 29,000 square feet. The two-story classroom addition was positioned as the new southern wing of the school, standing in an area that once housed portable classrooms and converted garages. This new building houses science lecture and laboratory classrooms, a student commons, computer/testing labs, a technical shop and additional educational support facilities on its first floor. The second floor features a series of spaces dedicated to library and videoconferencing facilities.

The existing main building underwent a major overhaul of its science lecture rooms and laboratories, regular classrooms, library and food service facilities. Traffic flow was a major problem in the previous design, with an imbalance between the number of classrooms in the front and back of the building. As such, the renovation increased the number of classrooms in the front of the building to reduce the traffic between the school’s two wings. New cooking equipment and a walk-in cooler were incorporated into the food service facilities, and two dining rooms were completely renovated.

Another major part of the campus’ redesign included a renovation of the outdoor athletic facilities, including an 81,500-square-foot multi-sport, synthetic turf field that accommodates a football field, softball field, soccer field, lacrosse field and several track and field developments. Adjacent to the main field is a new 31,750-square-foot synthetic turf practice field for football, soccer and lacrosse.

Jessie Fetterling

Jessie is the managing editor at Emlen Media. She can be contacted at

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