On Tuesday night, Bridgehampton School District voters overwhelmingly approved a proposition to authorize the spending of $827,738 on building renovations, the remaining balance of a $1.5 million “Five-Year Plan Capital Reserve Fund” established last March.
With 64 “yes” votes beating out six “no” votes, the money will pay for the replacement of the gym floor and skylight; new playground equipment and a resurfaced outdoor basketball court; newly built fire escapes; removal of a buried oil tank on the school grounds, replacing it with a new gas water heater; replacement of the emergency lighting systems in all five of the district’s buildings; and a new storage shed and generator. The front porch of the district office would also be rebuilt in a smaller fashion, and the science and music building would have its windows replaced.
Despite the fund being established through its own proposition, the district must bring a new proposition to voters each time they wish to spend the money, delineating exactly what the money will be spent on.
Last year, approved spending from the fund included the upgrading of the district’s windows and cafeteria, installing new door locks and a front-entrance vestibule, roof repairs, and updates to the district’s technology infrastructure—using up $672,262 of the fund.
When the fund was established last year, it was designed to be distributed throughout the next decade—but will now be depleted before one full year is up.
Bridgehampton Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lois Favre said that the upgrades were necessary in order to ensure student safety and increase building efficiency.
Dr. Favre went on to say Monday that while the district may be able to implement some of the improvements through the annual budget in years to come, the approval of these funds will catch the school up to their 2011 Five-Year Plan. Otherwise, she said, “We will have to deal with any emergency repairs as they come up, [which is] not the best way to plan.”
Because this is the last of the money left in the fund, Dr. Favre said that while she is confident the money will be sufficient to address all the projects delineated in the proposition, the district’s facilities committee and architects prioritize the projects in terms of safety needs in order address the most pressing first—leaving open the possibility that all the stated work may not get done.
With Tuesday night’s approval, the district anticipates the renovations to be completed over the summer months.