Construction pushes back start of school year in Sewanhaka

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An artist's rendering shows the outside of an addition being built at Floral Park Memorial High School. (Image from Sewanhaka Central High School District)

By Samuel Glasser

The Sewanhaka Central High School District will start the school year slightly later in the fall due to major construction projects at the district’s five schools, Superintendent Ralph Ferrie said Tuesday.

Staff members will report for their first day of the 2017-18 school year on Sept. 5, the day after Labor Day, instead of the last week of August as they did last year, Ferrie said. The first day of classes will be Sept. 6, two days after Labor Day.

Work at the five high schools is being done under the district’s $86.6 million capital improvements package, funded by a bond voters approved in 2014.

The auditorium reconstruction projects at H. Frank Carey High School and Elmont Memorial High School will be ready for student use on Feb. 6, after allowing a few days for the faculty and staff to become familiar with the new equipment, Ferrie said.

The work involved gutting both facilities to the bare walls and rebuilding them.

Half of the steel structure is up at Sewanhaka High School for the new gym and cafeteria, and the rest should be erected in the next two or three weeks, Ferrie said.

The installation of rooftop solar panels at New Hyde Park Memorial High School is expected to be completed in February, Ferrie said.

The panels could generate 35 to 40 percent of the power used in the building.

Matt Castelluzzo, the district’s facilities and operations director, said the solar panels for Sewanhaka, H. Frank Carey and Elmont will be delivered in February with installation continuing during the winter.

Solar panels will be installed at Floral Park Memorial High School when construction there is complete.

Other projects include a gymnasium addition at Elmont, expected to be ready in September, and the conversion of the heating systems to natural gas at Carey and New Hyde Park, which is underway and should be done by next heating season.

The other schools were converted to gas in recent years.

All of the schools will get new low-energy consumption LED lighting and new boiler controls.

Foundation work is continuing for the new auditorium at Floral Park, he said.

Also on Tuesday, students from the five high schools were recognized for “outstanding athletic accomplishments for the fall 2016 season,” said Matt McLees, district athletic director, adding, “We have a lot to be proud of.”

The teams cited included the Elmont and H. Frank Carey football teams as Conference II Big 4 champions; the Floral Park girls volleyball team as Nassau County Class A champions; the Floral Park girls cross country team as Division III B champions; and the New Hyde Park Memorial girls field hockey team as League 2 conference champions.

All five schools had teams that were cited as New York State Scholar Athletes.

Sewanhaka fields teams in the fall for football, soccer, cross country, track, volleyball, field hockey, golf, swimming, tennis and cheerleading.

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