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Springs school district seeks approval for $23M expansion

An expansion plan for the School Street school

An expansion plan for the School Street school will go to a vote next month. Principal Eric Casale is seen at the school on Sept. 22, 2016. Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Residents in the Springs school district are invited to attend a public presentation Thursday on a proposed $23 million plan for upgrades at the K-8 school, a project that will go to voters next month.

The School Street building can comfortably accommodate 400 students, but 743 students are now enrolled, Superintendent Debra Winter said. Student enrollment is projected to be 739 in 2019 and then to taper off, declining to 687 in 2025, according to a 2016 report from Western Suffolk BOCES.

The report attributes overall enrollment growth to “changing resident characteristics and housing factors.”

The population demographic in Springs, a relatively affordable enclave in East Hampton Town, has shifted with Hispanic residents making up 16.4 percent of the population in 2000 and 36.6 percent in 2010, according to the BOCES report.

The plan calls for seven new classrooms, including a technology and science lab, a middle school regulation-sized gym with locker rooms and a nitrogen-reducing septic system, among other upgrades.

“We have 90 students [in gym] at a time,” Winter said. “Right now our students are not receiving the requirements for gym.”

The project, which is expected to total $22,963,298, will be paid in part by an estimated $16,960,000 bond, as well as $6,003,298 from the district’s capital reserve funds. District officials are expecting state aid to reduce the borrowing cost.

If approved, the average cost of the bond would be about $13.60 per month, or $162.93 per year, for a resident whose property is valued at $600,000, district officials said.

Springs school board members will present the plan at 6 p.m. Thursday at Ashawagh Hall. The vote is set for March 6 from 1 to 9 p.m. in the Springs School library on School Street in East Hampton.

An outline of the project is available on springsschool.org, the district’s website, in English and Spanish.

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