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Board of Education Tours District Improvements

School officials address changes made and needed upgrades.

The Board of Education took their annual buildings tour of Rockville Centre schools on Aug. 29, detailing the improvements the district made over the summer. 

This year, principals were given the opportunity to address issues they felt should be included in a proposed bond which is expected to go into effect later this year. 

Principal Dr. Carol Burris revealed the newly expanded attendance office during the tour and expressed the issue of congestion in the school's "T" area. Current plans to elevate congestion include building a wing on the south side of the building to reallocate classroom space.

Burris said the long-standing issue of the portable classrooms is still an issue and that they're not only a safety concern, but it's also a poor learning space. 

"We have been very lucky. We haven't had the type of emergencies that other schools have had but we want our kids to be safe. We want them to be in a healthy space," she said.

Carol Roseto, director of Athletics, Health and Physical Education, said she hopes the bond will cover costs for repairing the track as well. 

Even after the summer installation of carpet in the library, Principal Shelagh McGinn said she is looking to make more changes to the space by adding more furniture and E-books.

Revitalizing everything in the school's historical auditorium from the curtains to the flooring was also a concern. 

"It just basically needs to be refurbished but we don't want to take away from the beauty of this room as it is. We want to keep the chandeliers and the sconces. It is a magnificent space. We just want to make it better," she said.

Principal Thomas Ricupero unveiled the school's new outdoor sign which was paid for through funds from the school carnival, and also released his plans to create a larger art room.

Ricupero stated that the current art room is too small and said he hoped to transfer it to the space which is currently a special education office and old computer lab. The current art room would be transformed into a small group instructional space and offices for teachers.

Replacing the school's PA system was also a subject during the tour. 

"It is so antiquated. For security purposes, I think [replacing] it is the way to go," Ricupero said.

Coverts students will be greeted with brand new bathrooms in each core classroom and a newly resurfaced gym floor.

By the beginning of November, each fifth grade student at Covert and Wilson will be assigned their own iPad to use during school hours.

Smart tables are another form of technology being introduced this year. Teacher, Ms. Brenda Gross, says the tables are a great interactive addition to the classroom.

"The kids love it. They thrive off of it," she said.

Principal Darren Raymar said one issue he hopes is covered in the bond issue is the school's leaking roof. 

During the break, wood floors in thirteen classrooms and the main office were either completely replaced or sanded at Hewitt.

Principal Elizabeth Pryke said the biggest issue at the school is the congestion from traffic. The land adjacent to Demott Avenue is in consideration of being made into an internal driveway for curbside drop-off.

"We have plenty of room to do it. We want it to be a free flow of cars to come in," she said. 

Air Conditioning Tops All Concerns

Each principal in the district revealed the desire to the install air conditioning in their schools.

"It gets to be very, very uncomfortable for the kids to the point where June comes and people turn the lights off and they're still sweltering," Burris said.

The Board of Education discussed this issuem, noting that it would cost under $1 million to install a room air conditioner in each classroom in the district. 

"It continues to come up in virtually every discussion that we have with anybody interested in quality of life in our buildings and something we are going to have to take into consideration," said Dr. William Johnson, Superintendent of Rockville Centre schools. 

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