As the $14.1 million capital bond project that Malverne school district residents nears completion, officials say the work will be finished under budget.
Depsite in the renovations at Davison Avenue and Maurice W. Downing elementary schools, the district's facilities staff, custodians and hired contractors doubled their efforts during the Labor Day weekend to have the buildings on Sept. 4.
"The last weekend was very touch-and-go," said Spiro Colaitis, assistant superintendent for district operations, explaining that one of the contractors had walked off the job but was coaxed to come back and finish.
He also praised the district's custodial staff for the hard work they put in to get the building cleaned in a very short amount of time, saying, "They gave blood that last week to open the buildings successfully. We should all be thanking them."
The principals at all four schools, including Downing and Davison, reported that opening day was smooth and successful. The children were impressed with their new cafeterias, which started serving hot lunches this week, and at Downing, the fifth graders were excited to move into their new wing.
Although the capital projects at both buildings are not complete -- there's a lengthy "punch list" and the libraries at both schools are still not open -- Colaitis said they would be soon.
"To put things into perspective ... we completed a [$14.1 million] two-year construction program in one year, on-schedule and under budget," Coalitis said. "That represents more construction in this district [over the past 13 months] than if you combine the last 40 years together. We did it successfully, we did it safely and we did it on-time.
The excess money from the capital bond can only be used on construction, so the district will be spending it on installing air conditioning in the computer labs, cafeterias and libraries at both schools. Upon hearing this at the Sept. 12 school board meeting, many parents, teachers, the school principals and residents applauded.
"We will continue to get the cleaning done," Hunderfund said, adding that the outstanding work has not impacted the delivery of services to students. For instance, although it will be weeks before the library at Downing is finished, the teachers are providing library instruction within their classrooms.
"You did a fantastic job," Hunderfund then told Colaitis. "We are extremely proud. You made it work."
See what else was discussed at Wednesday's meeting of the Malverne school board, including video highlights from a contentious public participation sesson, later today.