East Williston village, education board talk North Side School fence

Jed Hendrixson
The North Side School. (Photo courtesy East Williston School District)

The debate over the potential erection of a fence at the North Side School in East Williston continued this month.

Staff members representing the village Board of Trustees and the East Williston school district met on Jan. 10 to discuss the proposed perimeter safety project, according to a newsletter from Superintendent Elaine Kanas.

East Williston Mayor David Tanner said several items were discussed at the meeting and that one of the remaining concerns that the village and Fire Department share is how the perimeter fence could impede access to the property in cases of emergencies and when the department uses the fields in the back of the school for drills.

The district is further exploring the portion of the safety plans concerning the retaining wall at the front of the school, according to the newsletter.

The meeting was announced at a Board of Education meeting in December, where the board hosted district architect John Grillo of JAG Architects to address previous issues with the site plans.

The school district indicated that the plans presented at the meeting were preliminary, according to Tanner, and that there is a possibility the three-foot retaining wall at the front of the property may not be  part of the final proposal.

At the school district’s board meeting last Monday, the board voted to approve a Safety Environmental Quality Review Act, or SEQRA, report for a portion of the project. The board followed that vote with a second, accepting the SEQRA report as submitted and stating that the portion studied will not result in significant adverse impacts to the environment.

The fence is part of the district’s safety initiative to handle an emergency situation similar to the Sandy Hook Elementary School and Stoneman Douglas High School mass shootings.

The school board has previously hosted forums with Nassau County Police Department homeland security school resource coordinators and officers, who spoke about the benefits of a perimeter fence.

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