Less than two months after Mattituck-Cutchogue School District voters approved a $925,000 bond to fund a new track at the high school, administrators announced at Thursday’s school board meeting that the project has already run into some unforeseen problems.
District business administrator Michael Engelhardt said the district has been hit with $30,000 in costs because the makeup of the soil under the existing track is “not compactable.” About 2 1/2 feet under the entire length of the track needs to be dug up and refilled before the new all-weather, polyflex track is installed, he said.
However, the surprise isn’t expected to put the project over budget, as funds to pay for the extra work will be taken out of the bond’s $120,000 contingency budget, Mr. Engelhardt added.
School board member Doug Cooper said he’ll reach out to Southold Town officials and find out if they’re interested in purchasing the removed soil and use it to fix some dykes damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
As for the track’s color, Mr. Engelhardt said there’s four choices: black, green, red and blue.
Although many school board members’ ears perked up when he mentioned blue was a choice (since the school’s colors are blue and gold), Mr. Engelhardt suggested they go with a different color because the shade of blue the track comes with is more like a baby blue. He added red is the most popular color for track facilities.
Although the school board didn’t make a color decision for the track Thursday night, it did approve an agreement for finance advisory services from Munistat in Port Jefferson Station and a $6,800 contract to secure a rating from Standard and Poor. Both measures will help the district get a better rate on the bond, Mr. Engelhardt said.
In other school board news, 11 new athletic coaches were hired. Most notably, John Amato has been picked to coach varsity boys lacrosse.
Last month, parents protested the board’s decision not to hire controversial coach Mike Gongas for the post.
No one spoke during the public comment portion of Thursday’s meeting about Mr. Amato’s appointment. The board also approved hiring him as a substitute teacher and a teacher assistant, as well as a long-term leave replacement special education teacher assistant from January through June.
The rest of the new coaches hired for the current school year include: Mathew Litchhult and Steve Vandood as junior high girls basketball coaches, Meghan Cereola as varsity girls lacrosse coach, James Hoeg as volunteer assistant girls lacrosse coach, Kelly Pickering as varsity softball coach, Kim Gerstung as junior varsity softball coach, Steve DeCaro as varsity baseball coach, Gene Rochler as volunteer assistant baseball coach, Michael Huey as varsity boys tennis coach, and Cory Dolson as junior varsity boys tennis coach.