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2009 Bond Pays Off At High School

Garden City High School

Shows Off Improvements

Garden City residents were invited to take a tour of the high school Tuesday, Dec. 11 to see the numerous improvements that have taken place to the building as a result of the 2009 school investment bond and energy performance project.

Members of the board of education, including Superintendent of Schools Robert Feirsen, along with some of the contractors and architects who worked on the building, walked residents through the new music addition and updated classrooms and offices, explaining the changes that were completed over the summer.

On the tour, Feirsen noted that the improvements to the schools were not done because more students were coming to Garden City’s schools.

“Expansion was not driven by enrollment, it occurred because we needed to give students a better educational experience,” Feirsen said.

One of the first repairs to the school was a new watertight, more insulated roof. Feirsen noted that previously, anytime it rained, the corridor would be full of leaks and the ceiling would be dripping and stained with wet spots. The old roof required constant patchwork, but now, the school can rest at ease that the roof can withstand harsh weather.

Another priority was improving the flow of traffic before and after school. Previously, students would get on buses at both Rockaway Avenue and Merillon Avenue, which according to Feirsen created a traffic jam.

“Rockaway Avenue was not really built for buses. From the time classes got out, to ten minutes after, it was chaos,” Feirsen said.

Now, there are no buses on Rockaway and a bus loop has been added to Merillon Avenue, which is not only safer, but more aesthetically pleasing. Additional parking for visitors and staff has also been added.

The Merillon Avenue entrance lobby and attendance office has also been revamped, creating a logical point of entry for parents and guests who come to the school.

Several offices not only got upgrades, with new furniture and equipment, but they were also relocated to provide a more practical order to the school’s layout. The social worker’s office, guidance office and nurse’s office were all moved to the same corridor, making it easier for students and staff to get the information they need in one place as opposed to having to go all over the building.

The guidance office also now features a new counseling center, which is a huge asset to the department for when college representatives come and want to meet with students. The nurse’s office was moved to a much larger space, which now provides more privacy and opportunities for examination.

A problem with the previous configuration of the high school was that teachers had no place to meet without being surrounded by students. Now, each department has its own faculty office where teachers have desks and their own space. Department heads also have their own cubicle-like space within the office, where they can meet with teachers, parents or students in private, as opposed to before when they either had to conduct the meeting in the midst of several other faculty members, or ask everyone else to leave because of the lack of space. A phone system has also been set up within the school so that faculty and staff can call each other, as opposed to having to find each one another within the building.

One of the more notable changes to the high school is the new music addition. New rooms have been specially designed for the chorus, band and orchestra, where previously they had to go to either the library or auditorium for rehearsal. The new addition also features smaller practice rooms. All the rooms also feature microphones that hang from the ceiling, allowing for recording, and there is plenty of storage space for instruments.

At the board of education meeting directly following the tour, Albert Chase, assistant superintendent for business and finance, discussed improvements in some of the other Garden City district schools. The middle school added a new gym, updated their locker and fitness rooms, and converted their old gym to three classrooms. In addition, they created a bus loop for better traffic flow and added additional parking. The ceiling in the middle school was also replaced throughout the first floor. In the Homestead school, a new library and classroom were added, and all the windows in the building were replaced.

Other improvements to the school buildings may be less noticeable, but have a huge impact both financially and on the environment. The district made several energy improvements, including energy efficient lighting with sensors that detect whether a room is in use and shut off accordingly, computer network controls to regulate building temperature on a room by room basis, and heating controls and energy management systems which allow the building operations staff to regulate the temperature in each individual classroom. Exterior doors have been replaced at the schools, as well as district-wide caulking and sealing of windows and doors.

The district is also receiving duel fuel boilers that allow them to use either gas or oil, depending on which is less expensive at the time. The seven Garden City schools are currently using oil; however, they are hoping to switch to gas as soon as possible since oil is three times more expensive. According to a representative from Con Edison Solutions, complications with National Grid are slowing down the process.

The expansion and improvements were funded by the 2009 school investment bond. The total anticipated expenditure of funds to complete all the work was originally $36.5 million. However, due to the weak economy, low interest rates and a limited number of plan modifications, the estimated expenditure of the project as of December 2012 is $33.9 million, resulting in the district saving an estimated $2.6 million.

“This is money that we’re not borrowing, that the community will not have to pay back,” Chase said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the high school’s music addition will be held Monday, Jan. 7 at 3:30 p.m. There will also be a ribbon cutting for the middle school Wednesday, Jan. 9 at 3:45 p.m. All are welcome to attend. 1

News

April 19 fundraiser to be

held for baby with rare disease

Tom Onorato, the nephew and office manager of Dr. Joseph Onorato Garden City practice All Island Dermatology Plastic Surgery & Laser Center, recently celebrated the birth of a baby boy with his wife Melissa. Both were thrilled when Thomas Kevin Onorato came into the world on September 10, 2013. Despite being born five weeks early, baby Thomas managed to surprise his parents with his indomitable spirit and was sent home with a clean bill of health. A mere four days later began the fight for Thomas’ life.

Stewart Manor budget, mayor’s salary increase

At a time when municipalities are grappling with keeping expenditures down, the Village of Stewart Manor saw not only its 2014-15 operating budget increase, but its mayor’s salary. At a meeting of the board of trustees held on Monday, April, 8, Stewart Manor adopted a budget of $2,418,548.03, a 1.4 percent increase over the previous year. In addition, the board approved a raise of $1,000 for Mayor Gerard Tangredi, bringing his salary to $3,000. The salaries for trustees John Egan, M. Carole Schafenberg, and William Grogan are set at $2,000 each. Deputy Mayor Michael Onorato has declined his stipend.

Salaries and benefits make up 42 percent of the total budget. According to the state comptroller, it’s acceptable for that number to be as high as 65 percent. The total costs of salaries and benefits have actually decreased by around 5 percent from the previous year’s adopted budget.  


Sports

Easter Egg Hunt For Pre-K To Grade 5

The Garden City Recreation Department is once again sponsoring the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 19 at Community Park’s fields. This Year Three hunt will be held at 10 a.m. sharp with three age divisions: preschool to kindergarten, grades 1 and 2; and grades 3 to 5.

Special eggs will be stuffed and hidden for all divisions. Each hunt will also feature a grand prize (an Easter basket filled with goodies) which will go to the youngster who finds the egg marked “#1 Lucky Egg.” For further information about the hunt, please call the recreation department at 516-465-4075.

Commitment at Kellenberg

Garden City residents continue to excel while participating in the athletic program over at Uniondale’s Kellenberg Memorial High School.

Each season, coaches of Kellenberg sports pick one player from their squad who has demonstrated remarkable commitment to the team through their hard work at practice and in competition.

The Village of Garden City has a long history of residents who've excelled both on the academic and athletic side of the ledger at Kellenberg. This time around, seniors Kelly O’Donnell (varsity cheerleading), Stacy Madelmayer (varsity girls basketball) and Bryan Salecker (swimming and diving team) have all been awarded the Commitment Award for their outstanding efforts, devotion, hard work and commitment to their respective teams.


Calendar

Dinner & A Movie: In Transition 2.0

Thursday, April 17

School Budget Meeting

Wednesday, April 23

Judi Mark One-woman Show At Library

Thursday, April 24



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com