East Hampton School District Sets Facilities Use Policy

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After months of back and forth about its facilities use policy, the East Hampton School Board finally adopted a new set of rules that would prohibit adult use of athletic fields and set a price for groups that want to use the school’s facilities.

According to School Superintendent Rich Burns, the newly approved plans are just a clarification of what the district’s intentions are concerning its buildings and fields. He said while the priority goes to schoolchildren, the whole community should be able to benefit from the school’s resources. Adults will be able to use the indoor facilities, but they cannot use the fields because of the potential for damage.

With the new policy, for-profit and not-for-profit groups will be able to apply for use of part of a building such as a classroom, gymnasium or auditorium, or a field, and pay a fee—the price depending on the number of hours the group would be there and whether it is during the week or on a weekend. The prices range from a low of $25 for a classroom for four hours or fewer on a Saturday to $175 for a playing field on a Saturday for four hours or fewer for nonprofits, rising to about double those prices for for-profit organizations. The price also depends upon whether 51 percent or more of an organization’s participants are East Hampton Town residents—if not, the fee is doubled. Nonprofit youth organizations will not be charged.

Mr. Burns said the fee would cover electrical, custodial and maintenance costs.

The new policy also closes school buildings to the public on Sundays.

Mr. Burns said he understands the need for community athletic fields and hopes to work with the town on finding a solution, not just for Little League teams, but also for adult teams looking for a place to kick a ball around.

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