KG&D Architect Provides Update on Hutchinson Facade and Possible Bond Projects

Architect Russell Davidson from KG&D provided the Pelham Board of Education a progress update regarding the Hutchinson School facade at the Board’s meeting on Tuesday, July 11. Mr. Davidson also presented preliminary findings about possible improvements to the other three elementary school buildings that could be included in a bond referendum anticipated for late 2017.

Results of the "destructive testing" on the facade at Hutchinson School confirmed that the building is structurally sound but that full replacement of the building envelope is necessary. The testing involved removing targeted sections of the brick to examine the underlying condition of the building. Because the exterior brick continues to crack, the scaffolding and other safety measures that were put in place last school year must remain until the facade is replaced. Additionally, the District will regularly monitor the building to ensure it remains safe for students and staff.

"The good news is that we thought that the vertical cracks (in the brick facade) were a result of steel columns rusting, which would mean the structural frame was causing problems with the masonry. But, it is a masonry load-bearing building with no steel frame," Mr. Davidson said. "The cracks are caused by skin problems, not structural problems.

"The right thing to do is to completely reface it," he continued. "It needs a whole new building envelope. It is past the point where band aids will work."

Preliminary estimates for replacement of the facade are $7-9 million, though these may be revised as further evaluation and monitoring continues. The Board is hopeful that if the bond is approved in the coming school year, initial work on the facade may begin by summer 2018. However, it is important to note that the proposed timeline is subject to change.

In addition to evaluating the facade at the Hutchinson School, the Board of Education has directed KG&D and Calgi Construction Management to examine a variety of possible capital improvements for the District's schools. This work entails providing cost estimates, concepts, and feasibility analysis, among other information.

At the meeting Tuesday night, Mr. Davidson discussed a number of preliminary concepts including replacing boilers, increasing accessibility, field renovations, and adding new classrooms and/or multipurpose space/cafeterias to the elementary schools, as well as other capital improvements that were identified in the District’s 2015 Buildings Conditions Survey.

Over the next few weeks, the consultants will refine proposals and cost estimates for these potential projects. The Board is actively engaged in this process and expects to receive additional information during the course of the summer. The Board will seek feedback from the community before settling on a final scope of work to be included in the bond referendum.

“This report marks just the beginning of our study of the proposed projects," said Board of Education President Madeline Smith. "Over the next several months, we look forward to examining this work further, having conversations with our community, and then prioritizing what projects make the most sense for our students. While we understand that with older buildings there are many capital improvements to consider, it is imperative that we factor in the long-term costs and impact to our taxpayers as we settle on a final scope of work for this bond referendum."