Manhasset schools move on infrastructure, eye future projects

Manhasset schools move on infrastructure, eye future projects
Superintendent of Schools Vincent Butera and Board President Regina Rule. (Photo by Janelle Clausen)

The Manhasset schools will see freshly painted areas and new security vestibules installed this school year, district officials said on Thursday, as well as a potential long-term plan for future infrastructure projects.

Superintendent of Schools Vincent Butera said that the school district will likely have security vestibules installed at the middle school entrance of Manhasset Secondary School, which is home to students in grades 7 through 12, and at the current entrances for Shelter Rock and Munsey Park elementary schools this fall.

“The plan was to have them done for late fall – we are probably on target for mid-fall,” Butera said. “If we can get them done earlier, we will. “

Many North Shore school districts like Manhasset honed in on school safety following a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, this year, where a former student shot and killed more than a dozen people.

The security vestibules would be similar to the central administration office’s main entrance, featuring two sets of ballistic-rated glass doors, officials previously said. They also estimated the vestibules would cost $120,000, plus $75,000 for technology upgrades and more entrance cameras.

Officials also highlighted a number of projects worked on over the summer, including painting stripes in the Shelter Rock cafeteria, a newly painted kitchen, a redone hallway in Munsey Park Elementary School, and “future ready classrooms” that are “being finalized.”

Butera said the district also plans to create a long-term facilities plan and a capital reserve proposition for future projects.

“There are a number of projects we would like see considered and some projects that we would put forward for future years,” Butera said.

Anthony Ambrogio, the administrator for the arts and human resources at Manhasset, also asked the school board to consider updating the school’s black box theater and renaming it after Karl Hueglin, a “fixture of the Manhasset theater department.”

Ambrogio, joined by members of Manhasset’s Backstage Theatre Association, said Hueglin volunteered 38 years to produce over 100 shows and mentor countless students. His work also went beyond theater into the realms of marching band and proms, Ambrogio said.

“He always had the well-being of students on the forefront of his mind in every decision he ever made and he would work with anyone,” Ambrogio later added. “He found something for everyone to do, even if it was just moving something here to there.”

Ambrogio also said the whole community would benefit, because updated technology and flexible seating could foster collaboration, change the way meetings are held and support multiple types of theater productions.

“It would be a win-win for the community,” Ambrogio said. “It’s a black box 2.0, if you will.”

Regina Rule, the president of the Manhasset Board of Education, thanked the parents for coming out and said the board has been given something “to consider.”

“I’m grateful to you all for taking the time to educate us about the potential for that space and what it should be,” Rule said.

In unrelated business, Butera said Manhasset Secondary School is converting a one-stall faculty bathroom near the middle school entrance into one where “anyone can use it.”

Butera said this was done because transgender students often had to ask for permission or go to the nurse or principal’s office to use a facility.

“Last year when we met with a number of students there was a real concern, especially among some of our transgender students, about their accessibility to what most of us take for granted,” Butera said, “which was using a bathroom.”

There will also be a guard posted nearby, Butera added.

In other business, trustees also appointed Meg Clarke to head the girls varsity lacrosse team and not reappoint Danielle Gallagher to that position.

Gallagher had coached at Manhasset Secondary School for 13 years, overseeing a team that won state championships in 2014 and this year.

Gallagher’s supporters, including members of the girls lacrosse team, their parents and others, lamented the decision.

State law barred officials from discussing personnel specifics.

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