Spelling Out Terms of Youth Building Lease

    The terms of an agreement between the Springs School District and East Hampton Town, allowing the school to use a town youth building on the school campus for several classes this school year, will be the subject of a special meeting of the town board tomorrow morning at 10 at Town Hall.
    In recent discussions of the lease, Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, who is an attorney, had questioned whether it adequately spelled out the terms — in particular, who has dibs on use of the building after school hours.
    Though she said she supports the idea of having the building put to use during the school day — as does the rest of the board — she said she does not want to cede control of the building to the school, and that the lease should make it clear that decisions about its use after school hours would be left in the hands of a town entity, probably the Human Services Department, which runs some youth programs there.
    Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione, who has been working on the agreement between the town and the school, said the school wants use of the building at night for parent-teacher conferences, which take place several times a year.  At those times, or others when school activities might be in the building at night, he said school officials agreed to provide space for community groups in the school itself, if needed. Ms. Quigley expressed concern, however, that those terms were not specified in the lease, and said e-mails she had received from school officials indicated otherwise.
    Town Councilman Pete Hammerle, who oversaw the building project for the town, asked for a requirement that cleanup of the building, the school’s responsibility, be completed immediately after school so that the rooms would be in order if other groups were to use them at night.
    Questions also arose about who would be responsible for the cost of things like snow removal and modifications to the building that the school needs to make, such as installing a wall to make two classrooms out of one.
    The town spent $3.5 million to construct the building several years ago, with an eye to providing not only a home for the Springs Youth Association but a place for other community organizations and activities. It has been used for town-sponsored youth activities as well as by Project MOST, an independent after-school program.
    The school is to pay the town approximately $2,000 per month to lease the building. Mr. Stanzione said the agreement is a win-win, especially for Springs taxpayers who might have been asked to shoulder the burden of paying for a school expansion if the additional classroom space in the town building had not been provided.    
    Yesterday, Michael Hartner, the Springs School superintendent, expressed concern about getting the agreement executed immediately, as the start of school is nigh and the building must be readied for students. In a phone call to The Star, he said that he wants both entities to feel comfortable with the lease agreement, but that it is only a one-year agreement, and so could be modified or abandoned if problematic.