By Claire Walla
Over the next three years, the Sag Harbor School District will draft a master plan for buildings and grounds, which will guide how the school will look and function in the future.
Currently, it’s a very preliminary plan.
This preliminary sketch, put together by the district’s Buildings and Grounds Director Montgomery “Monty” Granger, was presented to the Sag Harbor School Board at a regular meeting last Wednesday, April 18. Rather than refer to it as a working draft, however, Granger was careful to note that the presentation merely laid-out ideas for both campuses — they are nowhere near set in stone.
“I want to make a disclaimer that what you’re about to see is my opinion,” Granger told the crowd. In fact, he added, the purpose of his presentation was to request that the board set-up a task force, “to help me go forward with some of the things you’re about to see.”
Granger read from four bullet points listed on one of the slides, which illustrated the district’s philosophy on improving buildings and grounds: “health and safety first,” “clean and green,” “curb appeal” and “restore and refurbish.”
As he explained, the current school configuration toes the line between newer buildings and historic preservation. During his presentation, Granger focused on the latter.
After showing several older versions of Pierson Middle/High School as depicted in black-and-white postcards and photographs, he emphasized that the grounds used to be more stark, open lawns giving way to the sight of the building more readily than they do now. There also used to be a flag at the top of the bell tower.
Granger suggested removing the current flagpole on the lawn, as well as clearing away some of the foliage. To highlight his point, he referenced two pictures of the brick, Pierson building with trees and bushes taking up most of the frame.
“If this were music,” he commented, “this would be cacophony, or noise.”
Other improvements could include installing new tennis/basketball courts on the elementary school campus, installing synthetic turf fields at the middle/high school, adding paved areas and benches to the Pierson drop-off area by the gym and the area just outside the cafeteria, as well as paving the parking spaces where the school district currently stores its buses.
Additionally, Granger mentioned the need to create a master plan for all trees that would pertain to both campuses. And he mentioned the sign at the base of the middle/high school, which, in his opinion, is far too small.
“I just can’t read it,” he added. “You can go bigger and put information up there that people can read.”
At that point, Granger showed an image of an LED flat screen message board.
“It’s a little 42nd Street,” he admitted. “I just wanted to get the creative juices flowing.”
After Granger floated the idea of installing an LED screen at the corner of Jermain Avenue and Division Street, board member Chris Tice pressed the need for community involvement.
“It’s important to involve the neighbors in this conversation,” she noted. “Particularly the ones that live across the street.”
Ideally, the proposed task force would involve both members of the school district and members of the community, Granger said.