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Feb 12, 2018 5:36 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton School District Officials Choose Property For New Administrative Offices

Southampton School District officials are looking to purchase a property to house the administrative offices. GREG WEHNER
Feb 14, 2018 10:24 AM

Southampton School Board members on Tuesday voted to begin the process of purchasing a $2.3 million residential property near the high school that would be used for new administrative offices, replacing those housed in a 5,000-square-foot trailer beside the intermediate school on Leland Lane since 1971.

The effort marks the first proposal for a new administration building since district voters rejected the purchase of a nearly $8 million property for the same purpose in 2016.

Board members agreed to enter into a contract to purchase a 4,700-square-foot home at 50 Narrow Lane, located down the street from Southampton High School, after looking at 12 different properties and weighing the option of constructing a new office building instead on the intermediate school grounds.

By purchasing the house and modifying it to fit the administration’s needs, the district would save nearly $400,000, according to School Board member James McKenna—though the decision ultimately will be made by school district voters in a referendum in May.

Mr. McKenna broke down the numbers on Tuesday night and explained that the property at 50 Narrow Lane will cost $2.3 million to buy, but additional costs—gutting and refitting the house as office space, outfitting the building with a lift to make it handicap accessible, paving parking spaces, and installing a new HVAC and sanitation system—makes the cost jump up to more than $5.4 million. He noted that the total cost also includes fees such as legal, consulting, engineering and planning. Once completed, the building will be 7,200 square feet.

If the district were to construct a new building where its current offices are located, it would cost nearly $5.5 million, Mr. McKenna noted, but the district also would have to spend an additional $420,000 to lease 4,000 square feet of space for three years, making the total closer to $5.9 million.

“This is efficient,” Mr. McKenna said in terms of purchasing the building at 50 Narrow Lane. “The proximity is right.”

School Board President Roberta Hunter said she hopes voters will speak up about the project when it comes to a vote on May 15.

The process of finding a new administrative building was reignited by members of the Board of Education in October, when Roger Smith, an architect with the Patchogue-based firm BBS Architects & Engineers, presented board members with three main options: building on school grounds, purchasing a property with a building already on it that fits the district’s needs, or purchasing a property big enough to construct a nearly 12,000-square-foot building.

At the time, Mr. Smith said that, to build or use an existing building, the district would need about an acre of land. That acre would be able to facilitate a building as well as an appropriate number of parking spaces for staff and visitors.

The most recent attempt to find a new home for the administrative offices was in 2016, when district officials proposed the purchase of two properties on Hampton Road. The proposal sought authorization from voters to spend up to $7.75 million from a capital reserve fund created in 2009 to set aside funds for acquiring property.

The plan was to buy the existing building at 300 and 310 Hampton Road and install the district offices there, moving them from the trailers.

District officials had stressed that approval of the move would not affect property taxes for school district residents, because the district had $8.2 million in the reserve fund already—money specifically set aside to fund a new office. Still, voters rejected the proposal in May 2016.

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What about on property?
By knitter (1940), Southampton on Feb 12, 18 8:32 PM
How about a new trailer??!!
By bigfresh (4663), north sea on Feb 12, 18 9:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
Temp offices in parking lot, knock down old building. Rebuild on old spot, go up two stories and connect with the main building.
By knitter (1940), Southampton on Feb 13, 18 10:15 AM
1 member liked this comment
I agree 100%. Take the money you want to purchase the house and property with and build on the property your already own.
By saywt01 (7), Southampton on Mar 2, 18 8:11 AM
Do you people know where the money comes from? Educated d___ fools. Lets send you all to hawaii to have a conference.
The money tree is gone, Gin Lane has property for sale. Get real people, look at the obvious, on property. It's OFFICES not a CONDO...
By knitter (1940), Southampton on Feb 15, 18 11:08 AM