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Jul 9, 2018 12:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton School Board Looks To Gather More Input On Administration Building

Southampton School District Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Dyno and Board of Education President Roberta Hunter are looking for the public's input on how to move forward with a new school administration building. GREG WEHNER
Jul 10, 2018 12:42 PM

Southampton School District officials will host a second public forum seeking input from registered voters in the district, seeking public support for plans for a new administration building to replace the deteriorating portable trailers that now house the offices.

The most recent attempt by the district, a plan to purchase a home at 50 Narrow Lane, near the high school, and convert it into an administration building, fell flat after voters resoundingly rejected the measure in May.

Now, district officials are lending an ear to district voters in an effort to develop a new plan to replace its aging administration building.

A previous workshop was hosted by the board of education on June 13; 35 school district voters attended and were asked to explain why they thought the proposition to purchase the home did not win voter approval. At the meeting, 26 reasons were offered and sifted into four categories: location, cost, process, and trust/communication/misinformation.

Those at the meeting drilled down even further on the items, and the consensus was that a new building should be constructed on school grounds. One suggestion in particular was to build an office building for its 22 paid employees to the south of the intermediate school and add parking in the semi-circle in front of the school.

Another suggestion by those in attendance was for the district to be more transparent and keep the community involved during the planning process, which administrators said they are trying to do.

When the second public forum was announced, board members said it was important to hold a second workshop to get as much input as possible, especially with the busy summer season.

Multiple calls and emails to Southampton School District Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Dyno and Board of Education President Roberta Hunter were not immediately returned this week.

But after the last workshop, Dr. Dyno said he wished more people had attended the first meeting.

“The feedback I heard from people who weren’t there, but people who read our Facebook post and talked to people there, liked the approach that everybody got to voice their opinions,” he said on June 19. “I think we heard ideas. I think we now need to funnel that and move in the direction that will get us a hard plan.”

The next workshop will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 19, in the music room of the Southampton Intermediate School on Leland Lane.

For months leading up to the May vote, many voiced concerns about the proposal through letters to the editor, in full-page advertisements in The Press and through online comments on articles.

Some of the voters said they were concerned about cost. Some perceived a lack of transparency by the board. Along with the $2.3 million purchase price of the residence, district officials had proposed spending $2.9 million to renovate the single-family house into an office building.

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