New Construction Master Plan Unveiled

Roger Smith, the principal architect for BBS Architecture, a Patchogue firm, spent the bulk of Monday’s Springs School Board meeting unveiling a new master plan. Though nothing has been formally decided upon, during May’s budget vote Springs voters approved a $2 million capital reserve fund to help with construction costs.

The rising student population is behind the need for reconfiguring space. The building has a maximum capacity of 601 students, but 732 students are enrolled. The school uses two portable classrooms, both of which are more than 40 years old, and also leases space from Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton and from the Town of East Hampton.

According to Elizabeth Mendelman, the school board president, the board’s main goal is to have all elementary and middle school students consolidated into its main building — with enough classroom and educational space to accommodate a growing population. A shortage of on-campus parking and congested roadways during arrival and dismissal pose additional challenges.

The proposed master plan addresses the shortage of space in the main school building, consolidates all grades under one roof, and creates a separation between the middle school and elementary students. It also aims to alleviate parking and traffic flow problems and upgrade the existing infrastructure.

The board will review the specifics of Mr. Smith’s proposal, with continued public discussions in the months to come.

Speaking of enrollment, Eric Casale, the principal, updated those in attendance on the numbers. As of Friday, the 732 students attending the school amounted to 51 more than the same time last year. He also said that 68 children had been registered for kindergarten, or about 20 more than last June.

Also on Monday, Lisa Matz, the PTA president, announced that $37,056 had been raised from the recent Mystery Art Sale. The money will support the school’s Visiting Artists Program, which brings professional artists into the classroom.

As a show of appreciation, Colleen McGowan, the school’s art teacher, presented a check for $1,000 to Ashawagh Hall, which hosted this year’s art sale at no expense to organizers. The PTA also donated $1,000 to help put out High Tide, the school’s literary magazine.

In other news, Charles Weiss and Robin Berger-Gaston from the Family Service League, which runs a mental health clinic on Newtown Lane in East Hampton, spoke of an initiative called Community School that will begin in September and provide early intervention services through family and community-based support programs. The aim is to decrease referrals to the already-crowded clinic, while targeting younger children in need of help. The funding, they said, will come from a family foundation at no cost to the Springs School.

Later in the meeting, three staff members emphasized the importance of summer reading and urged that students read for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Lists of books categorized by reading level are available at local libraries.

Regarding personnel, Nancy Olsen was appointed athletic director for the coming school year, Kimberly Belkin was appointed website coordinator from July 1 to June 30, 2015, and Diana Zuchelli was named chairwoman of the special education committee from July 1 to Aug. 31.

No public comments were made at what was the last board meeting of the school year. A reorganization meeting is planned for July 7 at 6 p.m. in the school’s library.