The Suffolk County Water Authority and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. helped expedite a water main project at the Bridgehampton School this month, helping to get students back in class earlier than expected.
A new building at the school campus, in the works for the past three years, needed a water main as quickly as possible, with students already learning remotely for longer than expected due to COVID-19 pandemic-related construction delays. Bridgehampton School superintendent Robert Hauser sought help from Assemblyman Thiele to see if anything could be done to speed up the project so the new building could be opened, and students welcomed back.
Thiele called SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo, explained the situation, and SCWA agreed to get the project on its calendar within two weeks of the call.
“Our students have been working hard to stay connected to learning while working remotely for many weeks and our emphasis has been to get them back here as soon as we can,” said Hauser. “The district appreciates the efforts Mr. Thiele and Mr. Szabo made to help expedite this project. Mr. Szabo kept the lines of communication open and got us on their schedule within 14 days, which is very reasonable. We are eager to move forward with the next phase of our reopening plan.”
SCWA contractors began digging November 16 to install a new water main under Montauk Highway to connect to the new 30,000-square foot school building, which includes a full gym and cafeteria and will supplement the existing building. The new building will also allow the district to remove temporary classrooms that have been used since 1968.
The new building had been expected to open in September, but Hauser said construction work was halted last spring because of state-ordered restrictions at the height of the pandemic. Thiele and SCWA’s assistance will allow the district to open the new building on Monday, November 30.
“This school expansion project is incredibly important to the community, especially in this time of COVID,” said Thiele. “And the rapid response of the Suffolk County Water Authority was much appreciated.”
“Helping Bridgehampton reopen classes is good for the community and we’re happy to be a part of it,” said Szabo.
Bridgehampton is one of only three districts in Suffolk where K-12 students learn together in a single complex. The others are Greenport and Shelter Island.
The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.
SCWA Assistant Superintendent of Maintenance Paul Greenwood (far right) with Bridgehampton School superintendent Robert Hauser (second from right), alongside students and teachers.