Rye Board of Education Outlines High School Athletic Renovation Options

The Rye Board of Education unveiled potential enhancements for the district’s athletic facilities.

Published June 28, 2024 8:52 AM
3 min read

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-By Chris Urban

The Rye Board of Education unveiled potential enhancements for the district’s athletic facilities, prioritizing renovation options for the HS/MS upper and Osborn fields, while also bidding farewell to two esteemed members.

The meeting, held on June 18, began with a presentation from Robert Gimigliano, head of facilities, outlining various options for upgrading several athletic spaces across Rye Schools.

Updates were given to the current projects of the HS/MS softball field, the RHS gym, and the RHS wrestling room. In the wrestling room, the old pads and floormats have been removed; for the softball field, the district is currently consulting with engineers regarding drainage; and there was to be no action for the RHS gym until school is dismissed, because the gym was being used for the Middle School graduation.

The scope of work includes a new scoreboard, field repositioning, restoration, and increased fencing for the softball field; new painting, lighting, wall pads, floor replacement, and updated bleacher seating for the RHS gym; and new painting, lighting, HVAC ventilation, mats, wall pads, and equipment for the RHS wrestling room to be completed this summer.

Final costs were not available, because the three projects are still in the design phase, but the district allocated $1.2 million for capital improvements in the 2024-2025 budget based on preliminary estimates.

Proposed additional projects were prioritized, with the HS/MS upper field first and the Osborn field second, followed by the RHS Field House, HS Fitness Center, and Milton Field. Superintendent of Schools Eric Byrne said there have been no community or external donations to support these projects, as the presentation marked the first time the potential options were outlined for the public.

Sarah Derman, the Public Information Officer of Rye Schools, said, “The district is always grateful for donations from parent organizations, the Rye Fund for Education, community groups, and families, although Rye Schools are not actively seeking donations at this time as these are still potential options for the future.”

Third-party consultants used June 2024 cost estimates to calculate prices for the improvements, which ranged from $8 million for a newly constructed Field House to $150,000 for regrading and restoring the HS/MS upper field. But the board clarified that no decisions will be made until the next budget cycle.

“These are simply considerations for long-term planning and budgeting,” Byrne said, underscoring the importance of community involvement in future discussions. On May 21, Rye school district residents approved a $110.5 million school budget by 72 percent of the vote.

Additionally, the board approved gifts from the Milton School’s Parent Teacher Organization and the Rye High School Class of 2023. The Milton PTO donation of $98,400 is for flexible furniture in four classrooms. The Class of 2023 contributed $5,850 to support improvements to the High School Courtyard.

A new partnership with Westchester Community College (WCC) was announced, allowing selected Rye High School students to earn WCC credits in RHS classrooms.

Agreements with The Center for Discovery in Greenwich, Conn., The Karafin School in Mount Kisco, N.Y., and Green Chimney’s nonprofit in Brewster, N.Y., were also approved to support specialized education programs for selected students in the district.

The meeting concluded on a cheerful note with the retirement celebrations of two board members, Kelsey Johnson and Chris Repetto. Repetto, the longest serving member with 12 years on the board, received heartfelt tributes from former Board members and his family. Replacing Johnson and Repetto are Valerie Lapham and Matthew Schibanoff.

The next public Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 11, and the focus will be on reorganizing board positions for the upcoming school year.

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