School District Proceeds with $78 Million Construction Program

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — After voters approved a $78 million bond issue to finance renovations, expansions and infrastructure improvements for the Riverhead Central School District, BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers have moved forward with the phased construction program at eight sites. The program covers the district’s seven schools and the grounds where three schools are located together.

“The approval of the bond issue is a very positive sign of the local communities willingness to invest in educational infrastructure, both on Long Island and nationwide,” said Roger Smith, BBS principal and lead architect in a statement. “In our experience, despite the struggling economy, voters will support and accept the cost of maintaining and improving school facilities as long as districts and architects engage in responsive, honest and respectful communication with the communities.”

BBS Architects and the district worked together with the community stakeholders to revise a previously submitted $122 million proposal that failed in February 2010. The district created a 40-person Community Partnership for Revitalization team to prioritize the facility and educational needs and to determine financial obligations. The CPR is made up of parents, community leaders, voters and district personnel.

With the Riverhead area focusing on a residential community, in conjunction with a housing boom during the early to mid 2000-decade, brought an increase of families with children into the community. Because of the increase, Riverhead Central School District decided to develop an expansion and renovation program to fit the needs of the 7,600 students.

The program is divided into three areas: spatial needs, facility needs and site work.

Spatial needs encompass the necessary additional classrooms and administrative offices. Site work encompasses sports fields, pick-up and drop-off loops, playgrounds, parking areas and driveways. Facility needs include required maintenance and capital improvements to existing infrastructure and facilities.

In order to minimize interruptions, the program is broken down to three phases, with multiple steps in each phase.

Phase I will involve three of the four elementary schools, Aquebogue Elementary, Philips Avenue Elementary and Riley Avenue Elementary School. Phase II is the largest and consists of a $32 million renovation and expansion of Riverhead High School, which is set to start in 2013. Phase III includes main campus improvements and renovations to the remaining schools: Riverhead Middle School, Pulaski Street School and Roanoke Avenue Elementary.

“Although the schools will not undergo LEED certification, we have incorporated a high number of green features into both new buildings and existing structures to be renovated,” said BBS project designer Kevin J. Walsh in a statement. “These include green and insulated roofs, high efficiency lighting and HVAC systems, water saving fixtures, high-performance window glazing, and tight building envelopes.”

All of the work is expected to conclude in 2015.