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Lynbrook school revamp is on track

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In the four months since officials broke ground on Lynbrook High School’s renovation, much progress has been made. The project has been in the works for nearly three years, beginning with the community’s approval in October 2017 of a $28.9 million bond to fund it.

A two-story extension from the front entrance to the fields will house a school store, three music rooms, three art rooms and an innovation space on the first floor. On the second floor, five new classrooms will be constructed for family and consumer science classes, as well as the career development program.

Principal Joseph Rainis has attended meetings each month, along with Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak and Vice Principals Mathew Sarosy and Salvatore Brescia, to hear construction updates and a projected completion date.

“Work inside the current building is designed to be completed by September, so we can operate normally with the start of the school year,” Rainis said. “The skeleton of the new building will begin to take shape, and will continue to be constructed throughout the school year.”

As of press time, the footings had been poured on the field to begin building the extension. Room 201, known to students as the Honors/AP Spanish classroom, is becoming a hallway, connecting the second floor to the new area of the building. The room is being stripped and the doorways knocked down to expand the width to the size of a corridor. In the principals’ offices, steel beams are being installed, and the overhang in the front entrance has been replaced by footings for the extension.

For much of March and April, construction was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Once the renovations resumed, construction workers quickly caught up to their schedule and are now on track to finish construction by the end of next summer.

The courtyard, auditorium and front overhang entrances are currently blocked off by construction, but Rainis is pushing to make them available for students arriving in the fall. Renovations to the field, officials said they hope, will not interrupt students’ learning, though they will be unable to use the field while this part of the project is under way.

Phys. ed. classes, as well as fire drills and emergency gatherings, will be held on the Kindergarten Center’s field, on Atlantic Avenue. “The challenge will be to maintain a social distance during drills,” Rainis said.

Construction workers have been directed to stay away from students while school is in session.

Parking along Union Avenue will be limited because of the large construction vehicles. “No parking” signs have been placed along the avenue since the end of March and will remain there until the renovation is complete. This will pose a challenge for students who drive to school, as the high school does not have a parking lot, leaving students to park on the surrounding streets.

Inside the building, the renovation will create new opportunities for co-curricular electives. According to Rainis, Burak is enthusiastic to expand the school’s science, technology and art subjects and hopes to incorporate robotics and drones into the curriculum.

“This day is a long time coming for us,” Burak said in a statement about the groundbreaking. “We have gone through many challenges in trying to figure out how we can best support the future of the high school.”

At Waverly Park Elementary School, renovations funded by the 2017 bond are also in the works. An elevator is being added to the back of the school, making it accessible to all students and bringing it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Construction began when school closed and will continue until the fall semester starts. Work was halted for a period of time because of the pandemic, but is being hurried along to stick to the schedule. There will be no disruption to students’ learning, and the back entrance will be available for use during the school year, should the buildings operate as normal in the fall.

“As we prepare for quite a unique September, we are hopeful this project will be completed,” Waverly Principal Allison Banhazl said. “Our priority is safety for all.”

North and South middle schools are additionally under construction this summer to renovate the schools’ locker rooms and gyms.