Tag Archive | "Monty Granger"

School Seeks Task Force For Master Plan

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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.

Fuel Costs Increase Budget for Buildings and Grounds

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By Claire Walla

Sag Harbor School District Buildings and Grounds Supervisor Montgomery “Monty” Granger didn’t just talk numbers when he presented his budget last Monday, December 12. He showed pictures.

As part of his slideshow presentation, Granger took Sag Harbor School Board members inside the Wyandanch School District where, through the school’s virtual building management system, he was able to display a map of the school grounds, which showed various temperatures corresponding to each room within the school building — in real time.

Granger said he hopes to bring a similar system to the Sag Harbor School District.

This was the focal point of his presentation on the 2012-2013 budget for buildings and maintenance, which as of now is predicted to see a $99,586 jump over this year’s budget. While buildings and grounds only accounts for about six percent of the school’s overall operating budget, Granger said often times the cost of energy is the most expensive part of this portion of the budget.

To further illustrate his point, Granger told the board that the district’s total energy costs for the 2010-2011 school year totaled $370,467. And based on estimates put out by the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association (NEADA), Granger said this is bound to go up by 2012-2013.

Fuel oil alone is projected to see a 28-percent jump, while natural gas costs are estimated to rise 13 percent and electricity costs are expected to be up by five percent.

According to Granger, the cost of implementing a building management system with Direct Digital Controls (DDC) would be about $500,000; however, he said the new virtual system could bring savings on energy costs anywhere from 25 to 50 percent.

This figure is imprecise, Granger admitted, because he’s unsure of how much energy the school is currently wasting.

“We currently have limited or no control over the heating of the buildings, and we have no benchmark for expenditures,” Granger wrote in one of his slides.

The program, Granger argued, would make regulating temperatures much easier and more efficient because he or one of the schools’ head custodians could monitor temperatures for the entire building remotely. Plus, Granger added, the program makes it possible to pre-plan heat regulation, essentially scheduling low temperatures during holidays when no one is using the building, even making temperatures low in certain segments of the building that may not be used as frequently as others.

Other cost increases for next year are tied to several expenditures Granger has built into the next school year: purchasing a lift, equipment replacement, new high school lockers, new boiler burners, purchasing a sod cutter, replacing doors and installing new wall padding in the Sag Harbor Elementary School gym.

“I have a significant increase in next year’s budget,” Granger explained. “But, I have some significant needs.”

As far as athletics are concerned, Granger — who also acts as the school district’s Athletic Director — said next year’s proposed budget will be kept relatively flat, only going up by about $22,000.

“We are proposing the same number of teams as we currently have,” explained school superintendent Dr. John Gratto.

According to Granger’s presentation, the school district currently fields 50 teams, with most student athletes participating in fall sports — 245 students, versus 170 in the winter and 146 in the spring. And Granger noted that the number of female athletes is greater than the number of males in both the fall (by 25) and the winter (by 30), while the boys outnumber the girls 86 to 60 in the spring.

Though nothing is set to change for next year, Dr. Gratto added that it’s still early and the impending threat of the two-percent tax cap could rock the boat.

“This is certainly going to be a tight budget year,” he added.

Sobering Study: AD and Athletic Council discuss alcohol and drug report

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web Billboard-13

By Benito Vila


In Texas the 1970s, it was said that boys were not men until they went to a ZZ Top concert, built their own car and outran a cop with it.

Rites of passage being what they are, Pierson athletic director Montgomery Granger has been considering how to best counteract a prevalent problem in many school districts, the use of alcohol and drugs by athletes.

In attending the Suffolk County Athletic Director’s annual safety conference in Wading River in January, Granger was introduced to an eye-opening presentation prepared by John Underwood, president and founder of AAI (American Athletic Institute) in conjunction with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYPHSAA), the governing body of New York State high school and middle school athletics.

An expert in drug and alcohol effects on human athletic performance, Underwood has advised and worked with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Navy SEALS, the United States Olympic Committee and Olympic athletes, and various professional, college, and high school teams and athletes throughout the country.

The culmination of a five-year study, Underwood’s presentation, “Year Five: Life of an Athlete,” sets forth research data and a series of recommendations that Granger has been slowly introducing to Pierson parents and administrators.

In describing the take-away from Underwood’s work, Granger said this week, “The purpose of the program is to ensure that all members of the community take a stake in eliminating drug and alcohol use among youth.”

 “I am planning to introduce it to multiple stakeholders, including administrators, teachers, coaches, parents, community leaders, student athletes, and anyone else concerned with the health and safety of youth in Sag Harbor. The first step is awareness. Being aware of and admitting there is a problem is the first step to solving the problem.”

 “I have shared copies of the presentation and its references and resources with administrators, parents, community leaders, teachers, and coaches, and through the coaches we will share the information with our student athletes. I also plan to share the information at meetings with parents and student athletes in the spring and in the fall.”


First Response

In describing the response thus far, Granger added, “I have had tremendous positive feedback from the parents and community leaders on the Athletic Council. One member, Robert Evjen, agreed to preview the materials and share his thoughts and feelings about it with the Council, which went extremely well.”

Granger pointed out that part of the initial “stakeholder charge” is to inform parents of the Suffolk County Social Host ordinance, which specifies criminal penalties if an adult allows minor children to consume alcohol on their property. He noted, “This fact probably got the most response from the Council, and several comments were made about how there is a social acceptance of underage drinking in the village.”

When asked what was the greatest good he could see coming from this discussion, Granger said, “It’s to see our most precious resource, the children of Sag Harbor, protected and cared for by all stakeholders of the community. This means admitting the problem and not tolerating its prevalence. Not to punish anyone, but to help those who are breaking the law and hurting themselves to get help and value a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.”

 “The takeaway has to be folks looking in the mirror and deciding if they are going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. There is no middle ground here. If they want to help, there are many ways, from talking with their children, to talking with their neighbors, teachers, administrators, coaches, and community leaders about how this problem must end, for the health and safety of the children, and for the future of the village.”


The Study Itself

The most astounding part of the 29 Powerpoint slides is the obvious realities that are so easy to overlook. In evaluating the habits, preferences and experiences of athletes, Underwood’s study looks at a subset of society that is self-motivated and trained to be competitive and intense.

That orientation that serves athletes so well in the field can be their undoing off it, especially in “experimenting” with alcohol and drugs. Underwood simply calls them “at risk.”

The study suggests that the most critical age for modeling behavior around alcohol, communicating boundaries and appropriate health priorities is the period between fourth and sixth grade. And describes the drinking patterns found in middle school athletes and high school athletes.

Its most telling image is a billboard stating, “One night of drinking can undo as much as two weeks of athletic training.”

The study also states “Social drug use continues to be the catalyst for nearly all negative behaviors in the high school athlete.” And, “If you mess with your brain, you mess with your body. Without any doubt, the brain and central nervous system must be at optimal functional level, if optimal athletic performance is to take place.”

Underwood goes on to describe that athletes tend to see drinking as “partying”, “the reason for socializing” and “what you look forward to”. He also notes the escalation from “try it”, “get a buzz”, “get drunk”, to “regularity.”

In mentioning drinking games, Underwood describes them as “another form of competition”, and quotes kids as saying, “This is just what we do.”

It’s slide 16 that has the data that’s hard for any athlete to ignore: the effects of a hangover reducing performance by 11.4% and players that drink being twice as likely to become injured.

That slide also states that intoxication inhibits muscle recovery, muscle performance, muscle synthesis, the immune system, hormone production and compromises reaction time.

That’s all obvious to anyone who’s ever tied one on, ZZ Top or no ZZ Top.