Local Input Will Influence Sag Harbor Bond Projects

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One thing seems certain after Monday night’s Sag Harbor School Board meeting: The war over how two Sag Harbor capital bond projects will be hammered out has just begun.

The board once again called in the district’s architect, Larry Salveson, to explain that the design development stage of the projects will last until at least March 2014. An invitation was also extended to the entire community to attend an open forum in the Pierson library at 6 p.m. on Thursday night, December 5, to discuss any and all ideas about the capital improvements.

“This movement bonded a whole lot of people together, in a way, and we’d like to continue gathering the community’s input,” interim superintendent Dr. Carl Bonuso said.

The input may turn out to be more abundant than anticipated, though, with multiple parties already lining up to be heard.

While Mr. Salveson discussed the process of accepting public bids for the four different contracts—general construction, plumbing, electrical and mechanical—board members asked about getting local contractors and surveyors involved in the bidding. “There are a lot of great local surveyors,” board member Chris Tice said, noting that she works in real estate and knows many who may be interested in the work. Ms. Tice said she wants to make sure “the maximum number of people have a chance to bid.”

Later on, the ideas of a local committee, the “Intermodal Transportation Committee” which is made up of Save Sag Harbor members as well as unaffiliated community members, were discussed by board member Mary Anne Miller.

Explaining to Mr. Salveson that she “sits on a different committee separate from the School Board,” Ms. Miller informed the board that the committee, unofficially headed by residents Susan Mead, John Shaka and Gigi Morris, would like the district to hire the group’s traffic consultant for the planned remodeling of the Pierson Middle/High School parking lot. Later on, the consultant’s name was revealed: Jonas Hagen, the local engineer hired by Save Sag Harbor to conduct a traffic study and present plans to the Village Board to calm traffic. Mr. Hagen is also the son of Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Anton Hagen.

The board seemed taken aback a bit by the idea of hiring a suggested consultant, as was even Ms. Miller. She said she tried to explain to the group that the district is open to input, which will be heavily considered, but that the outright hiring of a specific engineer just to mesh with the group’s ideas was probably a stretch.

“We need to be very clear that we’re proceeding with the people we’ve already hired,” Ms. Miller said, “but they very much want us to consider something larger—hiring their person, if I understand correctly.”

“They should participate on our facilities planning board, then,” Ms. Tice replied.

The discussion ended with board member Daniel Hartnett saying he would encourage Mr. Hagen to attend Thursday’s meeting to discuss his ideas.

In terms of the project timeline, Mr. Salveson said that after the designs are final, the yet-to-be-named project manager will begin to prepare the construction documents and send them off to the State Education Department, as well as the Suffolk County Department of Health. Depending on the timeliness with which the state goes over the plans, it will take until the end of March 2015 at the earliest.

Mr. Salveson went on to say that while construction will be going on during the school day at times, all the workers will be vetted, have to wear badges and follow a protocol for minimal contact with the students. “The students will always come first,” he said. “The work will be done around the student schedule.” Certain projects, such as the roofing project being undertaken next summer and the turf field, which will take 10 to 12 weeks to install over the summer of 2015, will be completed when school is not in session.

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