Tomorrow morning, Friday, Nov. 1, the Roslyn Public Schools will hold a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Roslyn Middle School to rededicate the building following the extensive renovation and expansion project that has been undertaken over the last two years. Residents are welcome to attend.
While significant construction and refurbishment projects have been completed in all of the district's five schools over the past few years, the middle school has undergone the most thorough transformation. The enrollment of the middle school has risen dramatically in the last decade, from 550 to nearly 800 students this year, the largest enrollment ever to attend school in this facility.
The changes at the middle school have not only been a matter of increasing the building's size, but also redesigning the school in order to better accommodate the instructional goals of a true middle school program.
Twice in the last decade, in 1994 and again in 2000, the voters of the Roslyn Public Schools approved referendums for capital improvements in all of the district's buildings. The community gave its support for bonds of $10.9 million and $23.9 million, respectively, to finance the costs of the extensive renovation and expansion projects that have been completed since the mid-1990s.
The reasons for the bonds were simple and immediate: to expand our schools in order to accommodate steadily rising student enrollment; to meet the technological and curriculum needs of the times we live in; and to undertake necessary capital projects in our aging facilities that would have been prohibitively expensive if funded on a year-by-year basis in the annual school budget.
Our demographic projections dating back more than 10 years ago had long predicted rapidly rising enrollment growth. As it turned out, Roslyn has experienced a 30 percent growth in student population in the last decade. Our careful planning proved timely and essential. As I have often wondered aloud at public meetings, what would we have done without all those additional classrooms?
Without additional construction, the only solutions would have been larger class sizes or portable classrooms-- two ideas that the board of education, reflecting the wishes and expectations of the entire school community, found unacceptable. Instead, our buildings have been expanded and renovated as part of a methodical, forward-thinking and cost-effective plan.
Now that the work on the bond approved in 2000 is coming to an end, it is appropriate that we mark this milestone with the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 1. It will provide residents with an opportunity to see firsthand the investment they have made, as a school community, in our facilities.
I also hope that our updated facilities will serve as a reminder to all of our residents that periodic capital improvements are vital to ensure that we can continue to provide outstanding educational opportunities to all of our students and protect the investment made by our school community in its essential school facilities.