Work To Commence ‘Immediately’ at Sag Harbor Learning Center

The former Stella Maris Regional School is in the process of being renovated and upgraded by the Sag Harbor School District. Christine Sampson photos

Work on the early childhood educational space called the Sag Harbor Learning Center — formerly Stella Maris — will begin “immediately,” Sag Harbor School District officials said this week, after construction contracts were okayed on Monday.

The Sag Harbor School Board unanimously approved a general contractor, an electrician and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning company during its meeting on Monday. The three contracts totaled $3,961,497.

“The bids were very competitive,” superintendent Katy Graves said Wednesday. “We had a number of bids for each of the items and they were very close, which is really positive. You don’t want an outlier — you don’t want them very far apart. They were within thousands of dollars of each other. It makes for a really good, competitive bidding process.”

The sum came in below projected totals, Ms. Graves said. The originally approved bond referendum of $10.23 million from May of 2016, which also covered the purchase of the property, included $5.5 million for renovations.

“It’s a really positive sign that the project will be on budget,” Ms. Graves said.

Sag Harbor has already spent more than $999,000 from surplus funds in its general fund to remove asbestos, complete some roofing repairs and replace flooring. There is also additional funding in the proposed 2019-2020 budget for additional supplies and equipment for the Sag Harbor Learning Center.

The contracts were awarded in a walk-on resolution toward the end of the meeting. Ms. Graves said the approval allows the construction to begin “immediately.”

A fourth contract, for a plumbing company, will be awarded at a future board meeting because the district did not receive any bids for that portion of the work, Ms. Graves said Wednesday.

“We are pursing putting that back out to bid and seeing if we can get that work off of state contracting,” she said.

The Sag Harbor Learning Center, in addition to housing the district’s half-day prekindergarten classes, will also house the district’s business offices as well as a daycare provider that will lease extra classroom space and charge for its services. The new facility is expected to open in September of this year.

Residency Policy Reviewed

The school board on Monday reviewed a policy governing students’ residency within school district borders, which has been updated since the board rejected a previous version in September.

Changes include more flexibility in the types and number of documents that parents can show to prove residency when first registering their children for school. A principal can initiate an investigation into residency by alerting the superintendent if a complaint is brought to his or her attention. The updated draft also eliminates the earlier idea that the district maintain a registry of leases and follow up with families whose leases expire.

The updated policy also gives principals leeway to allow children who would have to change schools the ability to stay for 45 days or until the end of the term; oftentimes that is the result of a life change such as a divorce, a death in the family or a shift in economic circumstances. The student can “stay until an easier transition time is possible,” board vice president Jordana Sobey, a member of the policy committee, explained Wednesday.