An Update from Dr. James:
I would like to share the extremely positive improvements that are occurring on the District owned Marion Carll property on Commack Road. Be aware that although the District has owned the Marion Carll Property for years, given the fiduciary responsibility of the District to first and foremost provide for the education and safety of its children, often there has been little to no available funding to support positive changes at the Property. The District, for years, sought viable proposal for use and restoration of the Property and its buildings along with demonstrated available funding, with no success, until now.
The official Marion Carll Property Committee was charged with soliciting and reviewing proposals for the Property that were in keeping with the spirit of Marion Carll’s Last Will and Testament. The Committee ultimately received three (3) proposals and at its May 8, 2019, meeting received information regarding each proposal along with a ratings rubric. The committee discussed each one thoroughly, including a proposal that LIU submitted that called for the leasing of a portion of the Property for use as a Veterinary School; they also reviewed a proposal and scoring rubric from the Elvezio Brothers, and Marion Carll Preserve, Inc. (Cynthia Clark, et al). Please see below for the rubric. The Committee voted unanimously (with one “do nothing at this time” vote) in favor of recommending the LIU Veterinary School proposal to the Board of Education. This was due to a number of reasons, not the least of which were the scores received on the rubric; a rubric designed to assure proposals met the overarching wishes of Mrs. Carll as set forth in her Will; a document to which the District is no longer legally bound but intends to philosophically stand by. Therefore, any proposal(s) offered to the District must have in some way been deemed to meet these standards, offer verified economic viability, and demonstrate economic sustainability.
As a result of the recommendation from the Committee, the Board of Education signed a 10-year lease with Long Island University (LIU) for 6.5 acres of the 9-acre property to open a veterinary school and LIU has begun clearing the property of the abundance of dangerous overgrowth, weeds, and dead trees (healthy trees will remain). The high winds from the storm on June 30, 2019, knocked down quite a few additional trees and limbs, and most have been cleared. A new parking area of bluestone gravel has taken shape that will allow for parking for student visitors and stabilization repairs on the main barn on the property have begun. In short order, fencing will be installed by LIU as part of the lease agreement, greatly improving the condition of the property so that Commack students can take advantage of this amazing glimpse into the past history of Commack.
Some of the benefits to Commack students include:
- Field trips to the veterinary school;
- Gardening and bee-keeping opportunities for students;
- Student research associated with agriculture, and sustainable energy;
- The development of agriculturally related, age-appropriate, hands-on, project-based curriculum for students including gardening, and bee-keeping;
- The develop animal and agricultural career-exploration programs for Commack students; and
- The possible development of adult education program programs.
Make no mistake, though we are still in the process of gaining all the necessary State approvals, I, the Commack School District, and the people of Commack have made a commitment to using the property as Marion Carll intended in her will. Further, funds from the lease, as well as other savings associated with LIU’s support of the Property, will allow us to stabilize the existing house and barn and properly catalog and preserve the contents of those buildings. It is flatly disingenuous to indicate that the District does not have the will or the wherewithal to engage in the plans set forth above in a way that will benefit the students and residents of this community while simultaneously living up to the spirit of Mrs. Carll’s, Commack’s first teacher, Last Will and Testament. We very much look forward to the coming years and the benefits and history we can share with our students and community.
Please click here for each proposal's final rubric scores.