2014 Bond and Greenacres Update

Construction Bids Opened and Work to Begin

The District opened construction bids Oct.18 for projects associated with the 2014 bond issuance, and, on that front, we have mostly good news to share with you.

The base bids for construction related to the 2014 bond came in at about 15 percent higher than the District had anticipated. However, alternate bids for renovations in the music room at the Middle School, and a new Design Lab and Fitness Center at the High School, came in below the budget estimate.

As you know, we have been fortunate that the Scarsdale Schools Education Foundation generously offered to provide extensive funding to support the Design Lab ($1,800,000) and Fitness Center ($800,000). The District will use $500,000 of its capital funds previously approved by voters for these projects as well to complete the necessary funding. Support from the Foundation has been further enhanced by the donation of state-of-the-art exercise equipment for the Fitness Center from the Madoff family.

The Board of Education will consider the awarding of these bids for the 2014 bond and alternates at the November 14th Board of Education meeting. We will be updating the community after this meeting to share the outcome.

Greenacres "Pause": Another Look at the Numbers

In entering into a public "pause", the District affirmed its commitment to revisiting all of the assumptions and design options that have been discussed to date. Towards that end, we have recently learned that our architects used CAD drawings to provide square footage estimates for classrooms in both the Greenacres building, and in the comparison of classroom sizes in our other elementary schools. At this point, we are unsure if these reflect current and/or correct measurements. For that reason, we are re-measuring all of our elementary classrooms in order to gain new, valid measurements and accurate comparison data.

At the same time that we re-examine classroom sizes, we are proceeding with further study regarding the future of Greenacres around the four assumptions made about the school's need for renovation/rebuilding in past discussions:

  • Air quality
  • Water and mold infiltration
  • Aging infrastructure
  • The Model School program

Air Quality, Water and Mold Infiltration

As we outlined in an earlier report to the community, crawl spaces and the basement underneath the Greenacres building generate significant humidity, which is controlled through the use of dehumidifiers. Without continuous monitoring and mitigating, moisture could result in issues affecting air quality, structural integrity, and maintenance. But repeated testing, by both District staff and outside consultants, has shown that there is no significant mold problem or air quality issues at Greenacres. Whenever issues about mold are raised--anywhere throughout the District--they are addressed with inspections, outside experts, and appropriate remedies, if applicable.

Aging Infrastructure

In terms of examining the age of the building and the impact that has on educational programming, Greenacres is about the same age as Edgewood and Fox Meadow. It is important for us to study whether the aging infrastructure at Greenacres is markedly different from our other schools. As you know, our facilities team has consistently repaired and updated our school buildings to provide for the best possible educational experience for our students and the safest learning and working conditions.

The Model Program

The Model Program was used as a benchmark for design options at Greenacres. Comparability to other schools in the District was a significant factor in this work, understanding that there is variability in total square footage across our five elementary schools and, when broken down, by individual grade levels. One statistic from the architect that drew a lot of attention was the amount of net usable square footage per student. The firm claimed that Greenacres had 25% less square feet per student than our other elementary schools. As mentioned earlier, we are in the process of confirming the accuracy of the measurements and the assertion that Greenacres is significantly smaller than our other elementary schools.

We will continue to keep you updated, both on the progress of fulfilling the project covered by the 2014 Bond and on our continuing study of the Greenacres project.

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