Please see the below list of questions and answers regarding the “Little Red Schoolhouse” in Moriches.
What is the Little Red Schoolhouse?
The Little Red Schoolhouse, located on the corner of Williams Street and Montauk Highway in Moriches, was constructed in 1925 and served as a small schoolhouse for the community. This building has not been used as instructional space for more than 35 years. The Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library has proposed a bond referendum, which includes a new library annex at the site — demolishing the current structure and reconstructing a new one in the likeness of the old building.
Why is the school district involved?
This project is spearheaded entirely by the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library board of trustees, library administration and community members of their visioning committees. The district is involved because New York State Education law requires that the district oversee any bond vote put forth by the library, and, because the district is offering the property for the library to use to the benefit of district residents (if residents approve the library’s bond referendum).
Is the building historical?
The building is not of historic significance. It served as a schoolhouse for primary grades during the district’s earlier years and was last used as instructional space in the early 1980s. The building may hold special memories for some, but that alone does not qualify it as historic.
What is the condition of the building?
The building is in a general state of disrepair and nearing the end of its useful life. To restore and preserve this structure, it would take a substantial investment of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to do so. (See below for cost estimate in November 2016). It is currently safe for occupancy, but due to its deteriorating condition, a long-term decision has to be made now.
How much will it cost to repair and restore the building?
Over the years, the district has explored restoring and renovating the site for district use. In 2016, the district explored turning it into a building that would provide specialized services to special education students in grades K-8. The estimate for 14 classrooms with an enrollment of about 110 students, along with all of the other necessities of running a school (offices, equipment, furniture, parking lot, new infrastructure, etc.), was $15.2 million. The highest maximum state share at the time was $5.9 million with a local share for residents of the William Floyd community at approximately $9.3 million.
Is the district proposing restoring and renovating this building?
No. The above referenced project was a cost estimate only conducted in November 2016. The district is NOT proposing investing $15.2 million ($9.3 million local share) in taxpayer funds to restore this building for district use. Additionally, since that estimate is now three years old, it is likely that the costs have significantly increased.
Is the building currently safe?
Yes. The building is currently safe for occupancy, but due to its deteriorating condition, a long-term decision has to be made now.
Tell us more about the condition. Is there asbestos in the building?
Yes, there is asbestos in the building. Asbestos is a heat-resistant fibrous silicate mineral that can be woven into fabrics and used in fire-resistant and insulating materials. It was commonly used in buildings constructed before the 1980s.
Wasn’t asbestos banned and removed from schools years ago?
Asbestos-containing materials, with few exceptions, are not currently banned in the United States and are still “managed-in-place” in schools. Under requirements set forth by the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA), these asbestos-containing materials in schools must be managed in an undamaged and non-friable (not easily crumbled) condition.
Is asbestos dangerous?
Asbestos becomes a hazard when it is damaged or crumbles. If managed properly, it does not pose a health risk.
Why can’t the district just preserve and landmark the building?
The building is not of historical significance. The cost to restore this structure would be significant (see above). It would not be fiscally prudent for the district to use taxpayer resources in preserving a building that serves no practical use for the district or its residents.
Does the district need the building for additional classroom space or for any another purpose?
No. The district does not need the additional classroom space and does not have any long-term viable use for the building.
Why is this a topic now?
Since the building is nearing the end of its useful life and will need major renovations/repairs or be set for demolition, a decision for the future of this building must be made now.
What is the building currently being used for?
Colonial Youth and Family Services currently provides UPK and daycare services at that location.
Are the current tenants/customers safe in the building right now?
The building is currently safe for occupancy, but due to its deteriorating condition, a long-term decision has to be made now.
What will happen to Colonial Youth as this project progresses?
The district has been in contact with officials from Colonial Youth and is working with them on a viable solution to continue providing their services. If a new location for them cannot be found within the district, they will be given ample time to find a new location before having to vacate the building. Colonial Youth is also not a district run program, so they are free to explore alternative site options themselves.
If you have any additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.