Adding to the usual unease many parents of young students experience as the first day of school approaches has been concerns about the state of the elementary school buildings that kids in the Malverne school district would be walking into on Sept. 4
But despite delays in the completion of the capital improvement projects at Davison Avenue Intermediate School and Maurice W. Downing Primary School, which the district at the Aug. 21 Board of Education meeting, both buildings are ready to receive students.
"Much progress has been made on the two schools," Spiro Colaitis, assistant superintendent for district operations, told Patch Friday.
Both buildings completed their mandatory fire inspections. Air quality tests were also conducted at both sites last week, and "both buildings passed easily," Colaitis said. Additionally, he said Board of Education President Peg O'Connor, who is asthmatic, walked through both buildings and did not have "any breathing issues."
Although one of the prime contractors abandoned the project earlier this month, Spiro said the district was able to convince him to return and finish the work. Colaitis also said the president of the teachers union, the PTA and the Board of Education toured Davison and Downing multiple times.
Trustee Gina Genti shared her observations of her final walk-through Monday of both buildings and reported back that "there has been tremendous improvement, especially at [Davison]."
Posting her feedback on the "I Love Malverne and Care About Our Schools" Facebook group, Genti explained that both buildings were professionally cleaned, adding "Davison is near spotless."
"All classrooms are ready to accept students," she stated. Although a few classroms have yet to be "unpacked" and several teachers, mostly those in the new wing, did not have access to their rooms to set-up prior to the holiday weekend, every room does have tables and chairs.
Although the kitchen at Downing passed its fire inspection, it still needs to be unpacked and the kitchen at Davison is set-up, but food has not been delivered, so calls went out to announce cold lunches for week one only.
The libraries at both buildings are still not ready, but the district warned parents that they wouldn't be at the August board meeting, explaining that they would be closed off but students at both schools would be receiving "library on-cart" until the rooms are ready. "We won't lose out on instruction," Colaitis assured.
Also, the district is still waiting for some furniture deliveries and needs to still set-up the reading and computer rooms at both buildings, and install smartboards at Davison. Also, not yet available, according to Genti, is the English as a Second Language room at Downing, and the art and band rooms at Davison, which are expected to be complete very soon.
"Services will be limited initially but in a short period of time it will be business as usual in improved facilities," Genti added.