School Board Discussion on Mashashimuet Park Continues

The Sag Harbor School District has reached an agreement with the Mashashimuet Park Board for sports teams to practice and play at the park. DANA SHAW

During a Board of Education meeting on Monday night that lasted less than 20 minutes, Sag Harbor Superintendent of Schools Jeff Nichols provided an update on the district’s ongoing discussions with the Board of Trustees of Mashashimuet Park, saying the parties were well on their way to coming up with a plan to update the facilities at the park that the district’s interscholastic sports teams have called home for so many years.

Mr. Nichols reported that on September 29, members of the school board and the park board met for what was the third time since the start of the school year. The discussions have centered around plans for improvements and/or renovations to the baseball, softball, field hockey, and soccer fields as well as cross country trails that are used in the fall and spring by the Pierson sports teams. Thus far, Mr. Nichols said, there have been discussions about updating walkways to make sure they are ADA compliant, replacing and refurbishing baseball and softball dugouts, providing additional storage, and any necessary upgrades to irrigation and electrical systems. The goal is to agree on a capital improvement plan that can be brought to the public for a vote some time in the spring of 2022. Mr. Nichols described the meetings thus far as “very productive, cooperative, and collegial.”

Board member Chris Tice asked Mr. Nichols about the likelihood of hosting a public forum to discuss the framework for the capital improvement project before the end of the year, and Mr. Nichols said that the board would “be amenable” to that as long as the discussions continue to go smoothly, although he added he did not want to speak for the park board.

He also mentioned that while the goal was to agree on a plan “as soon as possible,” environmental studies will also need to be done.

The date of May 17 has been floated as a possibility for a vote on the project, although the district is not tied to that date, Mr. Nichols said, adding that it depends “on how things evolve” over the next month or two. The district clerk is required to publish a notice of bond referendum 45 days prior to the vote.

The board quickly and unanimously approved several items on the agenda, including the resignation of varsity girls volleyball coach Donna Fischer. Will Fujita, a teacher in the district, was approved to replace her as head coach. There was no comment, from board members or the public, about the resignation.