Riverhead school district will shuffle office spaces to add eight high school classrooms - RiverheadLOCAL

2022-06-15 22:54:03 By :

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Now more than ever, local news matters.

Riverhead High School will soon gain eight classrooms, as the portable building next to the high school will revert to classroom use.

The Pupil Personnel Services office, which currently occupies the portable building south of the high school, will move to the building now occupied by the district’s central administrative offices at 700 Osborn Avenue. The district’s central offices will relocate to 814 Harrison Avenue, just south of Route 58, a 5,000-square-foot building formerly housed the offices of Quannacut Eastern Long Island Hospital.

The board of education Tuesday night unanimously authorized a five-year lease of the premises, with an option to renew for another five-year term, at a starting base rent of $12,917 per month ($155,000 per year) which will increase 2% each year of the term.

“When I came to Riverhead, I heard from many people that there is not enough class space in the district,” Superintendent Augustine Tornatore said Tuesday. “But I also understand the history with bond referendums and how things have gone historically. So I was trying to find a solution where I would be able to obtain more classroom space for our students.”

The district attempted to bond for a more than $88 million project to expand the district’s school and office buildings in 2020. That proposal, which included a $44 million expansion to the high school and $3.8 million for a new building at the district’s office on Osborn Avenue for the relocation of PPS, overwhelmingly failed with 70% of voters against the bond. It was the second time a capital construction bond that would have provided additional classrooms and administrative offices was rejected by district voters; a $123 million capital improvement bond failed in a February 2010 referendum. Voters in October 2011 approved a scaled-down $78 million capital bond that did not provide new administrative office construction.

The 2011 capital bond funded the construction of a two-story, 15-classroom expansion at the front of the high school. The expansion was completed in 2015, and the portables were converted to office space for PPS.

Tornatore said the district contacted the state Department of Education and was assured that it can still use the portables for classrooms.

“Having these eight additional classrooms will certainly help the high school, will certainly help with the nine-period day and offer more opportunities for our students — especially too as we are  going to be fully implementing the alternative school, we are going to be doing it in stages,” Tornatore said. “So there is a lot of great things that will come out of this lease agreement and we would be able to capture the space relatively quickly at the lowest possible cost.”

The office lease approved Tuesday requires the landlord to make specified renovations for the district at the landlord’s expense, up to $180,000.

The terms of the lease make the district responsible for maintenance and repairs of the premises, excluding structural repairs. The survival of local journalism depends on your support. We are a small family-owned operation. You rely on us to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Just a few dollars can help us continue to bring this important service to our community. Support RiverheadLOCAL today.

The survival of local journalism depends on your support. We are a small family-owned operation. You rely on us to stay informed, and we depend on you to make our work possible. Just a few dollars can help us continue to bring this important service to our community. Support RiverheadLOCAL today.