The Westbury School District Board of Education adopted a bond referendum at their Sept. 17 meeting and now it’s up to the voters if they want to approve a $172.6 million bond for major building improvements, including the construction of a new middle school.
Following a presentation by Superintendent Dr. Mary Lagnado, the board unanimously voted to put the bond up to public vote on Thursday, Nov. 17. Lagnado said that the building improvements are crucial, citing the age and physical conditions of the buildings, need for additional instructional support space, ADA compliance, health and safety regulations and 76.6 percent state building aid ratio as major incentives for the project. Another major factor is the enrollment growth in the district, which has resulted in overcrowded classrooms without any more room for expansion.
“Even if we hired more teachers, I can’t open more classroom sections because we don’t have the space,” Lagnado said. “So when people complain about class size, I don’t have the classrooms to open up additional sections, even if I had the teachers.”
The priciest aspect of the bond referendum is the construction of a new middle school, which would carry a price tag of approximately $97.2 million.
“To fund the necessary work to bring the current middle school into the 21st century would cost approximately $50 million. Instead, the bond includes building a state-of-the-art middle school that would appropriately accommodate the current enrollment as well as anticipated future enrollments,” the district said in a statement.
Wiedersum Associates Architects, the firm assigned on the project, proposed the construction of a new 170,000 square-foot building where the athletic fields currently stand and then demolishing the current building, which was built in 1924, to make way for brand new athletic fields.
The majority of the proposed scope of work would be funded using New York State Building Aid, which equals about 76.6 percent of the cost, the district said. If approved, current and future residents would fund the remaining 23.4 percent of the project. The district said the bond would cost homeowners with an average market value of $323,133, $298.14 per year over a 30-year period starting in 2019/20 and going through 2049.