At the Aug. 26 meeting of the Board of Education, the Harborfields Central School District’s Board of Education supported a resolution to hold a public vote on Oct. 27 to improve district facilities through a bond. Before making its decision, the Board reviewed extensive documentation from an architect and a group of community residents who have participated on a facilities committee for the past year. The proposed facility improvements will help preserve the integrity of the school buildings, address various infrastructure repairs, improve instructional resources for all, upgrade athletic facilities and provide additional resources for students with disabilities as well as improving access for students and community members. Under a bond, the district would also be able to take advantage of New York State Building Aid at a return rate of 51 cents for every dollar spent on the majority of projects.

Two separate propositions will be presented for vote. The first is for infrastructure repairs, classroom reorganization, and certain athletic improvements.

Through the first proposition, improvements to Harborfields High School include renovation of certain bathrooms and the replacement of damaged doors, as well as a complete abatement of floor tiles throughout the school. In addition, certain science labs that are outdated and inadequate for today’s lessons would be upgraded. The existing wellness center (which is used by the district’s physical education classes and district athletes) would be transformed into a multimedia production computer lab and a new, larger wellness center would be built by reconfiguring other rooms.

Through Proposition #1, the high school would see upgrades to the auditorium, gymnasium, and the reconstruction of certain athletic fields with natural grass. Permanent visitor bleachers would be added to Brennan stadium, four tennis courts would be renovated and a new wrestling room would be created.

At Oldfield Middle School, the science labs and the family and consumer science room would be renovated. Middle school fields and tennis courts would be upgraded and the locker rooms would be reconfigured and also renovated. Certain bathrooms in the school would be upgraded and outside masonry would be repointed. The gymnasium floor would be refinished and the bleachers would be replaced. The lighting system in the school’s auditorium would also be upgraded.

Proposition #1 also carries improvements for Thomas J. Lahey Elementary School and Washington Drive Primary School. At TJL, upgrades include the installation of a new gym floor, replacement of curtains and risers in the multipurpose room, renovation of student bathrooms, and the creation of a multi-sensory learning lab. Outdated playground equipment would be replaced and the western parking area would be renovated and drainage to that area improved. At Washington Drive Primary School, the parking area would be expanded.

The first proposition would carry a total bond amount of approximately $11.627 million and an increase to taxpayers of approximately $76.20 per year or $6.35 a month for a home with an assessed value of $4,000.

Proposition #2, dependent on the passage of Proposition #1, would extend the improvements in Proposition #1 to include the transition to a synthetic turf field at the high school utilizing an alternative fill, such as Nike infill, as an alternative to crumb rubber.

“It is important for the community to understand that Proposition #2 is very different from the field proposition that was presented to the community two years ago,” said Board of Education President Dr. Thomas McDonagh. “The field we are now proposing uses an alternative fill and addresses the concerns that residents had at the time.”

The total amount for Proposition #2 is $1.985 million. For the average home with an assessed value of $4,000, the increase would be $13.08 per year or $1.09 a month if Proposition #2 is approved.

The bond vote is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 27, from 2-9 p.m. at Oldfield Middle School. A community forum is slated for Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in the middle school auditorium to discuss specifics of the plan.