continued Other projects include replacing old staircases, removing asbestos tiles and retrofitting old bathrooms, lighting fixtures and windows that are decades old to become more energy efficient. Many buildings also need upgrades to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, such as replacing generators, boilers and insulation.
Another $700,000 would be needed to provide technology upgrades. As more state-required testing begin to move online, the district said server upgrades are needed, the middle school is still not working on a wireless system and a larger storage and backup network is needed in case of emergencies.
“One of the things we also have to recognize is even before we got into the last budget cycle, there was a grassroots community initiative developing in regards to the athletic situation here at Bethlehem,” said Douglas. “They’re just as much a part of the community as anyone else.”
In the fall, parents Jim Giacone, Scott Bonanno and Chuck Clas asked the board to consider a bond to upgrade the district’s sports facilities after many games had to be canceled because of drainage issues and senior night had to be held at a different school.
Athletic Director John DeMeo had already identified needed upgrades to the turf, track, lighting and sound systems and the bleachers. The costs could run between $2 million and $3.2 million.
“Due to the change of superintendents and the budget restraints, we kind of took a back seat with the hope of voting a bond,” said Giacone at the Wednesday, Aug. 8 school board meeting.
The district is holding a community forum to discuss the possibility of a bond, the amount that residents would be comfortable borrowing and what should be included in the bond for upgrades. It will be held on Monday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. in the middle school library.
“The one thing that is very common and I think the general person knows is the more you put off repairs and the more you put off improving your infrastructure, the more it’s going to cost down the road,” said Douglas. “Nothing is getting cheaper.”