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Renovations at Malverne Elementary Schools Encounter Delays

Davison and Downing will be operational, but not complete when classes start next month.

The renovations of Malverne's two public elementary schools encountered snags this summer that will result in some of the work being unfinished when classes begin next month.

Although the capital bond projects at both  and "will not be completely done ... [the buildings] will be operational and usable for the start of school," stated Dr. James Hunderfund, superintendent of the Malverne school district, during Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting.

Spiro Colaitis, assistant superintendent for district operations, provided an update on the $14.1 million capital bond projects residents 

"It took a Herculean effort," Colaitis said of the work put in to execute the projects, which the state only approved last year. "We compressed two years of design and construction into a one-year program."

Proposition #2, which included the installation of the at Malverne High School and other upgrades to district sports facilities, is complete.

Most of Proposition #1, which addressed crucial repairs and renovations at the two elementary schools, is finished, but Colaitis said some "short-term pending items" still remain.

Construction of the new library at Downing School is "way behind schedule," explained Colaitis. This portion of the building will be closed off when schools reopen on Sept. 4. Although more progress was made on Davison's library, it's still not complete, so students at both schools will be receiving "library on-cart" until the rooms are ready. "We won't lose out on instruction," he assured.

Also delayed is the delivery of library furniture, which is not expected to arrive until early September, and casework for the new classrooms. The first deliveries of this built-in furniture, which runs along the perimeter of classrooms, should arrive Thursday and will be installed immediately. However, the district may not be getting all the pieces by the first day of school.

Two other items remaining on the projects' "lengthy punchlist" could impact students too. Although Davison and Downing students will dine in renovated cafeterias, where pipes are no longer exposed, the equipment in the adjacent kitchens may not be installed when schools open. 

"We're pretty sure right now we will have kitchens complete and ready, but if they're not, we're going to have cold lunches for the first couple of days," Colaitis said.

The new computer labs added to accommodate state-mandated local assessments students must take during the start of school might not be ready either. If that's the case, students will be bused to  to take the tests.

A "big headache," according to Colaitis, is that the buildings are still lacking doors, which were supposed to be delivered about a month ago. Without them, the buildings cannot pass fire inspections and obtain necessary certificates of occupancy.

Some doors were delivered Tuesday, but if the rest do not arrive soon, Colaitis will proceed with "Plan B."

"We will get any door we can find ... I don't care what it looks like, throw it up, pass our fire inspection and as the real doors come in, we will replace them," Colaitis said. "We will be functional."

The rest of his presentation offered glimpses of finished areas, including the new science lab, elevator and music room at Davison, and bathrooms, administrative offices and cafeterias at both buildings.

"We are in the last couple of weeks of fruition and we will be accepting our children on Sept. 4," Colaitis said.

Hunderfund added," When people see it they will marvel at the expansiveness of the projects and the environment where the children will receive instruction."

Click through the gallery (top right) to see some photos from the presentation.

Concerned Resident August 23, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Surprise, surprise!! And they gave him a 3% raise!! Knowing that the state tests were a priority you think that the computer room would have been done first! Oh, it really doesn't matter because they haven't had any computer classes!! Talk about a district going backwards!

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