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BOE Shares South Side Redesign Proposals

The Rockville Centre Board of Education shared six possible floor plans for South Side High School.

The Rockville Centre Board of Education discussed the proposed bond issue to revitalize South Side High School during a board meeting on Sept. 27.

Architects from BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers were on hand to reveal six possible building plans for the school's redesign.

Two of the six plans dealt with a three-story addition of six classrooms to the southeast corner of the building, which would require the construction of an elevator and a need for temporary classroom space during the construction process. 

Two plans dealt with second-story additions to the school -- one of the northwest corner and one in the southeast. 

The remaining plans came as a result of prior meetings with the board and included a new art and science wing.

Other notable addition included outdoor courtyards, re-design to release congestion in the "T" area and the relocation of the school's library.

Superintendent William Johnson, spoke on concerns about managing a third story.

"The two three-story plans create a problem for us that, quite frankly, I'm not anxious to deal with. If we don't need to, I don't think that we need to dedicate a lot of time, resources and staff to in fact, manage this area," he said. 

Board Vice President Mark Masin said problems with the fourth floor at South Side Middle School from years past is his main reason for criticizing the plan.

"We had years ago a tremendous series of issues and problems up on that fourth floor. ... Certainly with high school students that are going to be up there, that it will not be worth the cost in personnel and maintenance," he said.

The two, two-story plans were the most popular with board members who expressed how these plans would elevate congestion issues in the infamous "T" area.

"It is much more manageable and in my opinion, educationally sound structure," Masin said. 

Principal Carol Burris also agreed, stating that congestion is not only a hassle, but also a safety concern.

"Having that disbursement across the building is really important in things like fire drills. When we have fire drills everybody at that one end of the building. It takes a long long time to get everyone out. If the students are dispersed across and that library space is used as classroom space that is really key," she said. 

Each of the six plans costs are not significant, separated within a 5 to 8 percent cost difference according to the school's architect.

Future discussion regarding the bond issue will be discussed at next months meeting but all board members deemed the plan to not add a courtyard final.

"We have lived with courtyards and know that they're just a headache. If we are going to build a structure, personally, I think we that we should cover the entire space," said Dr. Johnson.

John O'Shea, board trustee, urged all residents to be involved in the project.

"Bring us your input, we want to hear it. We want the schools to be what you want them to be and we need your help to also get the bond passed," he said. 

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