Tag Archive | "storage"

School Approves Plans For $4.9 Million Bond Measure

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By Claire Walla

The Sag Harbor School Board is moving forward with plans to bring a $4.9 million bond measure to the public. The four base components of the seven-part capital project were unanimously approved by school board members — with the exception of Walter Wilcoxen, who was absent — at a regular school board meeting held Monday, November 14. They include: 122 health and safety provisions (many of them mandated by the state), expanding the Pierson kitchen, restructuring two parking lots and constructing a storage room in the elementary school gym.

In total, these measures represent nearly a $1.8 million cost reduction from an almost identical bond measure that was put up for public vote in 2009. That bond was defeated.

In an attempt to keep the cost of the project as low as possible, the district’s Long Range Planning Committee decided to take plans to restore the Pierson auditorium completely off the table. It is now recommended that the project, at an estimated cost of $12 million, be funded privately.

However, plans to replace the Pierson field with a synthetic turf ($1.6 million) and install stadium-style lighting ($675,000) are still on the table, though they would most likely be brought to the public in an additional bond referendum, separate from the $4.9 million bond outlined above. Board members are still discussing the plans for the field and lighting installation as they are currently laid out.

Board members have also floated the idea of putting the turf field and the stadium lighting up to a community vote as separate projects because the lighting issue seems to be more controversial.

“For me and for some of the neighbors, the lights represent a game-changer,” said community member Steven Reiner who lives directly adjacent to the Pierson field.

He said he had relatively no problem with the synthetic turf, but the lights he said would create increased usage of the field, bringing more people to the area; potentially cause light pollution; and might even lower real estate values for homes in the immediate area.

“What I’m struck by is the specificity and the detail that accompanied the cafeteria and other issues,” Reiner said of the elements entailed in the base bond measure. “When you vote for large-scale change, that’s going to affect traffic and egress and lights [among other issues]. But we don’t have any proposal of what this [change] is going to look like.”

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While the district does have a graphic of the turf field, the projected impact of the proposed stadium lighting still needs to be determined.

On another note, parent Laura Matthers commented that the turf field, which includes a two-lane track around its circumference, “might actually be a draw for people in the community,” which would be a good thing.

As proposed, Athletic Director Montgomery “Monty” Granger added that the field could be used by the school’s middle school baseball team (the size is not within regulation for varsity or JV baseball), by varsity soccer teams and all field hockey teams. All other outdoor sports would continue to use the fields at Mashashimuet Park. This would not only allow teams to have practice later at night, but it would allow games to be scheduled later in the day.

According to Dr. Gratto, this would be a great advantage “because parents [who work during the day would finally get to see their kids play.”

The projects already recommended for the $4.9 million bond proposal were very quickly approved by the board. As for the health and safety improvements—including architectural, plumbing, electrical, HVAC and site-plan upgrades — it took board members mere seconds to determine there was no penny-pinching possible in this realm. The $3.85 million plan marks a $1 million reduction from the bond proposed back in 2009, $500,000 of which was already built into this year’s 2012-13 budget.

“If it’s really about health and safety, there’s got to be a point when it’s got to be done,” Board Member Gregg Schiavoni said. “I think not doing it is going to cost us more down the line.”

Similarly, plans to extend storage space in the elementary school ($210,319) and re-do the parking lots on Jermain Avenue at the high school and on Hampton Street at the elementary school were very quickly approved. Though the parking lot project generated some dissent back in 2009, board members recommended the improvements with emphatic support. While the lots would increase in size — jumping from 26 to 51 spaces at the elementary school, and 38 to 46 at the high school — Dr. Gratto said the main impetus for the remodeling has to do with health and safety.

The parking lot at the entrance to the elementary school would push forward, further toward Hampton Street, which would add parking spaces and widen driving lanes for emergency vehicles. The parking lot on Jermain Avenue, next to the high school gym, would extend north into Pierson hill and would include a curb along Jermain to prevent cars from backing up into the street.

“The Jermain Avenue parking lot is a disaster waiting to happen,” said board member Chris Tice. “It’s not safe at all.”

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While the kitchen had previously been an issue of contention, as board members debated whether or not expanding the room would actually improve the quality of the food, it was generally decided last Monday that room for more storage space would indeed improve food options.

Though there wouldn’t be a difference in the type of cooking equipment used, School Board President Mary Anne Miller stressed that additional storage space would allow the school to add more refrigeration, which would “definitely improve purchasing and food selection.”

While the board has decided to go forward with the $4.9 million dollar bond measure, it is yet to be determined when the vote will take place.

Space, the final frontier – Parking and Storage Issues at Pierson

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Although administrators are looking for ways to save money for the Sag Harbor school district, the newly formed long range planning committee is still meeting regularly to talk about major changes to both the high school and elementary school. This week’s topics were storage, spatial issues and parking.
The meetings take place in the library at the high school, where anyone from the community is invited to attend. The purpose of the meetings is for members to go through a facility study —completed in February 2007, which was revised in September of this year — to develop a long-range plan for both the high school and elementary school. The topics in the study can be as small as ventilation issues or as complex as a new auditorium.
At last Thursday’s meeting, the district’s architect, Larry Salvesen, said that the parking at the elementary school desperately needs to be upgraded, because there aren’t even enough spaces for the faculty. Salvesen said that there are currently 54 spaces available for parking on school grounds but there are 95 faculty members. At present faculty members are parking along Ackerly Street and other small streets near the school, which school board president Walter Wilcoxen said is a major issue.
“The village has complained that there is no containment of parking on the property of the schools,” he noted.
At one of their earlier meetings, Salvesen said that changes could be made to the lots along Clinton Street and at the bottom of Pierson hill, along Jermain Avenue. In the past, the community has expressed concern over creating parking there and on Thursday the committee took these two options off the list. The proposal for a reconfigured front parking lot at the elementary school was discussed, and it was decided that the lot should be re-designed to allow for more spaces. Salvesen said that the changes to the front parking lot at the elementary school would cost just over $350,000.
Also at the elementary school, Salvesen referred to the Atlantic Avenue parking lot as a “fender bender in the making.” He proposed extending the lot approximately 30 feet and a little into the asphalt basketball courts at the back of the elementary school. The proposed changes to the Atlantic Avenue lot, according to Salvesen, could cost the district $160,000 but committee members made no decisions on that lot last week.
At the high school, the proposed changes would include some work to the parking lot along Jermain Avenue. This lot has caused problems for the teachers recently, according to building/grounds athletic director, Bill Madsen. Madsen believes that this too should be top priority.
“We have teachers and administrators parking illegally,” Madsen said, “we have them parked on the grass, too, because there is no where for them to go.”
Wilcoxen and fellow board member Mary Ann Miller both said they believe it would cost the district less money if the board of education could apply for approval of all the parking projects at one time. The proposal for a reconfiguration for the lots on Jermain Avenue would add 17 more spaces for $375,000.
Members of the committee asked why there was such a big price tag attached to the parking projects, and Salvsen responded that it is not just a matter of re-striping, but there are drainage issues and sealing and realigning that become costly.
Wilcoxen suggested that at the next meeting, the committee could continue their conversation of parking and invite police chief Tom Fabiano to attend and give the group his input. Salvesen said that the only restrictions for parking in the village, seem to be those directly surrounding the schools.
In addition to parking, Thursday night’s agenda also included storage and spatial issues at both schools. Elementary school principal Joan Frisicano said that currently there are two portable storage sheds, which are located at the back of the elementary school. One is waiting to be sent back, because it is broken, and the other is either filled with chairs or tables. Frisicano said that there is not enough room in the storage container for both the chairs and tables at the same time. She also said that the school has to reduce the ordering of some items because there is nowhere to store the items.
“We have to split the art order and order different things a few times per year because we don’t have anywhere to store them,” Frisicano said.
Salvesen presented a proposal for a two-story addition to the right side of the elementary school that he said would possibly solve the storage problem and may help create additional classrooms. This project could cost the district $4.8 million, according to Salvesen.
At the high school, Salvesen said there were items being stored in the corridor downstairs in the woodshop and cafeteria area — when he first completed the facility study. Those items have since been moved.
“I don’t know where these things disappeared to, but they all seem to have a home now,” he said. He added there are still storage needs at the high school.
Madsen proposed that the committee do the same thing as they did with plans for a new auditorium.
“We could have one plan, the Taj Mahal, and then less expensive plans – A,B,C – that can be looked at,” he offered.
The next long range planning committee meeting will be held in the Pierson High School library on November 13.