Story by Elise Fisch
The Florida Union Free School District (FUFSD) Board of Education met on Thurs., Feb. 20 to discuss updates on the capital improvement project.
The project proposes several structural upgrades and renovations to various parts of the District, and will include improvements to the school grounds and buildings such as safer entryway vestibules at Golden Hill Elementary, and library and locker room renovations at S.S. Seward Institute, reconstruction of soccer fields, repaving of parking lots, upgraded alarm systems, and more.
Concern for a safer environment at the elementary school seems to be a top priority of the project, though it will affect all schools within the District almost evenly. The $7,985,804 million budget for this project was voted on and approved last February.
A representative from BBS Architects gave a presentation, followed by another talk by a Triton Construction representative. Each presentation contained information regarding their respective companies and their companies’ involvement in the capital improvement plan.
The construction will roll out in two phases, each phase focusing on a different portion of the District. Graphic aids detailing the exact updates that would be done to the structures themselves were distributed to the School Board members, provided by BBS Architects. Triton Construction will be on site to ensure all contracts are upheld and the budget is respected. Both companies have worked with the School District on prior projects.
Assistant Superintendent Lisa Tiger discussed enrollment numbers, which are down overall, and are a concern because it directly affects the federal and state funding they will receive in future years. The Board members agreed they would like to add Pre-kindergarten to the District, which would improve enrollment and benefit the community, but it will be difficult to find room to include in the “already constrained budget,” as it was put by Board president, John T. Redman.
Superintendent Jan Jehring made important mention of reaching out to local legislators and public servants, such as State Senator Jen Metzger and Assemblyman Karl Brabenec, in order to ensure their awareness of the current needs and priorities of the schools.
The next meeting will be held on Thurs., Mar. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the S.S. Seward Memorial Building, located at 51 N. Main St. in Florida.