It seems to be a reasonable solution to the Springs School’s useable-space crunch that the district would borrow an East Hampton Town-owned building on school property to use for classrooms. However, a deal should not be struck without keeping in mind the needs of the larger Springs community.
The Springs Youth Association has been holding programs in the small, shingled structure off Ed Hults Lane, and a town homework club has been run from there. The school’s problems have been well documented, and there is a sense that property owners there are nearing the end of their willingness or ability to pay for any more tax increases that might fund an expansion.
With the hamlet showing tremendous population growth during the last decade, the school has struggled to accommodate all of its students. The youth association building would help relieve some of the pressure, but assurances must be made that it be accessible to the non-school public for meetings and events unrelated to the school.
With the closing of Fort Pond House in Montauk by the town board and the town’s planned handoff of the Duck Creek Farm alongside Three Mile Harbor to an artists’ group, there are fewer publicly owned buildings available to one and all than there once were. Ashawagh Hall, also in Springs, is privately owned and generally booked, and it and the Presbyterian Church nearby should not be the only venues for gatherings in the hamlet.
As the town board and Springs district continue to discuss the youth association’s building, its value as a potential meeting place for Springs residents remains a key point of negotiation.