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Springs district voters OK $23M project to expand, upgrade school

Construction is expected to begin in July 2019 and be completed in September 2021, and will include seven more classrooms to accommodate students and a nitrogen-reducing septic system.

Renovations at the Springs School in East Hampton

Renovations at the Springs School in East Hampton will be paid for with an estimated $16,960,000 bond and $6,003,298 from the school district's capital reserve fund. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Voters in the Springs school district on Tuesday approved a $23 million plan for upgrades, improvements and expansion at the K-8 school.

Residents voted 484-323 in favor of the plan, which is expected to total $22,963,298. The project 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.

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.

The plan calls for seven new classrooms, including a technology and science lab, a middle school regulation-size gym with locker rooms and a nitrogen-reducing septic system, among other upgrades at the Springs School in East Hampton.

The additional classrooms will allow the district to instruct its kindergarten through eighth-grade students in the same building. Kindergarten and first-grade classrooms are now housed in separate buildings on campus.

“Number one priority, for me, is having all the students under one roof for safety,” said Superintendent Debra Winter. “Right now we have the littlest children walking across parking lots for gym or music.”

Architects will now submit detailed plans that must be approved by the state Department of Education. Construction is expected to begin in July 2019 and be completed in September 2021, according to the district.

The School Street building can comfortably accommodate 400 students, but 743 students are now enrolled, Winter said last month. 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.

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