New roof, updated auditorium, dedicated music space, upgraded locker rooms and possibly a turf field

Center Moriches Schools to put forth a bond vote


The Center Moriches School District will be proposing a just under $45 million bond vote for two phases, including major building upgrades as well as a turf football field. The vote will take place on Oct. 24.

“We are really excited for this,” said superintendent of schools Dr. Ronald Masera, noting the continued aging of the school buildings, including Clayton Huey Elementary School, the middle school and high school.

The project, according to Keri Loughlin, assistant superintendent for business, has a main focus on health and safety, with roof replacement and sidewalk repair. Also part of the proposal is the bus loop construction for 559 Main Street, which was purchased after last year’s referendum passed.

This year, the bond will include two propositions:

The first proposition will be for infrastructure including the roof replacement, door replacements, sidewalk repair, new boilers, library upgrades, an auditorium revamp, a dedicated space for the music department and as well as family consumer science classroom upgrades and new locker rooms at both the middle and high schools.

“The lockers are over 50 years old,” Masera said. “Sometimes they are unusable, it’s so old.”

The auditorium, for example, he said has been in extreme disrepair.

“That is exciting, and will strengthen our arts department,” he added.

The second proposition is for a new turf field. The district currently uses the nearby Town of Brookhaven turf field, though there are no bleachers. The installation of a turf field, Masera said, provides for a safer and lower-maintenance playing surface for students, in line with most other schools in the region. The new field would include the existing, already replaced lighting as well as new bleachers for viewing and a press box.

“Also, we could host more games at the same time on both turf fields,” Loughlin said.

The total cost for the field would be about $3.6 million. However, Proposition 2 is contingent on Proposition 1 passing, and cannot pass unless Proposition 1 passes.

“Our neighboring districts, West Hampton and Eastport-South Manor, have [had] major facility upgrades, and our kids deserve the same quality 21st-century learning environment,” Masera said, also noting that some residents have choice in which district to send their children. “This is a sizable project for us, but will benefit a generation of Center Moriches students.”

However, he said, “on the plus side of it,” the district is entitled to 75 percent state aid on any parts of the project that is considered worthy of assistance. “That is less than 25 cents on the dollar taxpayers have to pay to get the work done.”

The work will most likely be done in phases over the course of three to four years, spreading the costs and making the cost to taxpayers “more palatable,” Loughlin said.

Also, the board, Masera said, is considering utilizing the capital reserve to offset some of the costs in the amount of about $1.5 million. However, to utilize that funding would also require a referendum vote.

The project has been created by a committee comprising over 20 community members, including a diverse crowd of administration, teachers and residents, with students and without. The first presentation was held in late June. 

In 2020, the district approved an Energy Performance Project at no cost to the taxpayer. The self-funding project implemented energy savings by adding solar among other additions, including updated lighting throughout the district, univents and film on windows. That project was a total of $6 million.

Also, the district passed a bond in 2015 in the amount of $8 million for roof work at Clayton Huey, door replacement, security cameras and science labs.

Following a yearlong development process, the Center Moriches School District Board of Education approved a resolution at its July 5 meeting to move forward with a proposed bond project and scheduled a community vote on the proposition for Oct. 24, 2023.

The board held a presentation on Aug. 30 during their regular board meeting to go over what was included in the project, though numbers on increases to the taxpayer were not available as of press time. Several other meetings will be held throughout September to October ahead of the vote. The district’s website includes additional information.


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