South Orangetown Central School District

Voter-approved capital improvements delayed due to a slowdown in the state review process and construction supply chain issues are on track for Summer 2022 and planning is underway for Summer 2023. “We’ve received approvals from the New York State Department of Education and bidding is slated to begin this fall,” reports School Business Administrator Michael Vespi. “We’ve regained our momentum.”

Thanks to community support, the District has completed roughly $10.8M in facilities improvements with funding from its capital reserve and annual budget appropriations over the past decade. This budgeting strategy has enabled the District to complete needed capital improvements on an ongoing basis while minimizing year-to-year increases for taxpayers.

Projects completed to date include:

  • William O. Schaefer Elementary School: Renovation of the library, counseling center, main office/security and ADA-accessible bathrooms; installation of an ADA-accessible stage lift; and creation of exit doors from the cafeteria and gym
  • Cottage Lane Elementary School: Construction of the library and new nurse’s office, ADA-accessible bathroom renovations, cafeteria HVAC upgrades and installation of ADA-accessible playground equipment
  • South Orangetown Middle School: Renovation of the library, auditorium, counseling center, main office/security and technology and art classrooms; ADA-accessible bathroom renovations; and, playground installation
  • Tappan Zee High School: Replacement of the multipurpose turf field and track; installation of ADA-accessible stadium seating and press box; installation of ADA-accessible bleachers and HVAC upgrades in the main and rear gyms; and renovation of the cafeteria seating area and ADA-accessible bathrooms.

The emphasis of Summer 2022 projects is on upgrading electrical capacity with the installation of additional electrical branch panels and switchgears at WOS, CLE and SOMS. Safety and security improvements will focus on the replacement of clocks, public address and lockdown systems at SOMS and TZHS with integrated communication systems. (System replacements for WOS and CLE are planned for the following summer.) Construction of the TZHS counseling center is also on the calendar for Summer 2002, along with ongoing renovations of ADA-accessible bathrooms at WOS.

Summer 2022 work will be funded through budget appropriations approved by voters in 2021. But with all schools either approaching or beyond 60 years of age, the District is looking at larger-scale, longer-term projects that may be tackled, in part, through the use of its capital reserve fund, which now totals $19.4M. This fall, the Board of Education will consider recommendations from the District’s Facilities Committee to address priority infrastructure, health and safety needs.