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Avella allocates $1M to Bayside High School

By Gabriel Rom

Bayside High School will receive about $1 million in major infrastructure renovations, courtesy of state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside).

Avella presented a check last Friday to help fund the restoration of the school’s aging auditorium and a renovated athletic field house.

Principal Michael Athy received the check on behalf of the city Department of Education, which will be responsible for the implementation of the projects.

Of the $1 million that Avella will appropriate for Bayside High School’s Capital Improvement Request, $750,000 will go toward the restoration of the auditorium. The auditorium has a seating capacity of 1,300 and has been used for theatrical performances, concerts and cultural events for 80 years. Extensive use, however, has ultimately led to a deterioration of the auditorium’s seating.

The auditorium, part of the Music Wing, will be updated to meet current needs and serve as a presentation space for Bayside’s music program, which now includes both performance and production classes.

The remaining $250,000 will go toward a new athletic field house. The renovations will include the restoration of lockers, showers, bathrooms and the exterior for the over 100 outdoor PSAL athletic teams that use the field house.

The School Construction Authority is currently working with the school in the planning process. Work may be slated to begin as early as January 2017.

“So many of our schools have a laundry list of what needs improvement or downright replacement,” Avella said. “We can never do enough for our schools, but we can make sure that every year we chip a handful of things off that list. I’m always eager to fund projects that will give students the facilities and resources that will encourage their interests and help their studies. Principal Michael Athy has recommended the perfect set of improvements to that end, and I’m glad to help restore the aging auditorium and athletic field house.”

Avella added that this type of discretionary funding from elected officials was especially important, as many schools in the area do not get Title I funding to cover students from lower-income neighborhoods, which is renewed yearly. Bayside is receiving Title I funding this year.

“A million dollars is not something I’m able to do everyday,” he said

Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

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