Preliminary Bond Scope Announced for Environmental Review

Final Scope to be Determined in March for May Referendum

Following months of study and review of the Pelham Public Schools’ facility and infrastructure needs, the Board of Education identified a preliminary scope for a bond referendum in May 2018. This preliminary scope represents the largest amount of potential work that is under consideration for the voter referendum. This list of identified projects is not a final scope and it is fully anticipated that it will be refined as the Board explores these options in greater detail and obtains further community input.

Between December and March, the District’s pre-bond/feasibility architects and construction manager will begin the initial design process on these projects while working to narrow the scope and associated costs. Simultaneously Tim Miller Associates, an independent consulting firm, will begin the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) process. Meanwhile, the Board will continue to solicit additional feedback from the community. In March 2018, the Board of Education is expected to announce the final scope, cost, and ballot question(s) that will be presented to voters for consideration in May.

Earlier this year, the Board considered a variety of options with regard to Hutchinson School, which is in need of major repairs, and determined that that the course of action to take is to replace the school. The Board then continued its analysis of other District needs that could also be included in the bond, prioritizing capacity, infrastructure, safety, and support for our educational program.

This review led to the determination that the following projects merited further review in the preliminary scope:

  • A new Hutchinson School
    This proposal will address current and projected capacity issues for Hutchinson School, safety issues relating to the current brick façade and free-standing portable classrooms, and accessibility to the building. It also has potential to address capacity concerns elsewhere in the District.
  • Create six additional Hutchinson School classrooms beyond the original proposal
    These classrooms would be used to house one or two magnet programs, which could augment our educational program as well as address district-wide capacity needs.
  • Create six new classrooms and an orchestra rehearsal space at PMHS by renovating the current District office space
    This will help address capacity issues at the secondary campus and allow greater flexibility in scheduling PMHS/MS classes. It will also eliminate the need for the orchestras to rehearse on the auditorium stage, which frequently results in loss of instructional time owing to other demands for that space. Additionally, the new classroom space could provide flexibility for a new science lab and a larger space for the science research program.
  • A classroom addition on Prospect Hill
    This proposal would address current and projected capacity issues for Prospect Hill and could also create space for a portion of District offices. This proposal would include accessibility upgrades to the school.
  • Funds for potential property acquisition near Colonial School
    The Board has identified existing and projected capacity concerns at Colonial School.The school also has limited play/outdoor space. Property acquisition would be necessary for a school expansion. Having funds available may aid the District in moving quickly to purchase property if the opportunity arises.
  • Electrical Panel/ System upgrades at Colonial, Siwanoy, and Prospect Hill
    This will enable the buildings to meet increased electrical demand needed to service new technologies for 21st Century Learning and is necessary to provide air conditioning, either in full, or in part in the future.
  • Field Upgrades
    The District’s fields are used heavily by our athletic program, which has seen increased participation in recent years, as well as other recreational programs. This usage level doesn’t allow for the necessary time needed for the fields to recover. Recommendations by the Athletic Facilities Committee include irrigation, leveling and regrading, resurfacing tennis courts, installing synthetic turf at Glover, and investing in LED lighting.
  • Roof and parapet replacement on PMHS annex/masonry repointing at annex and Pelham Middle School
    Due to water intrusion around the window area on the PMHS annex, the parapet wall needs replacement and repointing work must be done on the elevation walls. Additionally, the roof on the annex needs replacement and portions of the Middle School also need repointing work.
  • Replacement of Middle School HVAC units
    The current HVAC units on the Middle School roof are original to the building’s construction in 2005. These air handling units are necessary to heat and cool the building; they are failing and are beyond their useful life.
  • Playground upgrades at Colonial and Siwanoy School
    Both schools’ play spaces are confined by lack of available land and, in some cases, outdated equipment.

“Throughout this process the Board has sought to identify our most pressing facilities needs and develop a strategic plan to meet those needs in both the short and long term,” said Board of Education President Madeline Smith. “We look forward to drilling down further on these projects as we move toward a final bond proposal that maintains and improves our facilities, addresses capacity issues, allows our students the best opportunities for educational success, and represents strong stewardship of our District and community’s resources.”

While the SEQRA and initial design phase are ongoing, the District will continue to explore additional options for dealing with capacity issues. One possible solution that has been suggested is to create magnet programs that could be housed in the new Hutchinson School or the possible addition at Prospect Hill. These programs, which could focus on a number of subject areas such as International Baccalaureate, STEM/STEAM, dual language or the arts/music, could draw enough interested parents/students to relieve capacity concerns across the District. Over the coming months, the District will study various options to meet capacity needs while seeking additional feedback from the community.

More about the Initial Design Process

The Board of Education approved a contract extension with KG&D Architects for continued pre-bond and feasibility work through the planned May 2018 referendum. Over the next few months, KG&D will further study the preliminary scope projects, including the feasibility of various sites for the new Hutchinson School. This process will include creation of site plans, floor plans and a general exterior approach as well as “sketch” renderings of possible interior and exterior designs and features. Because of the rocky terrain at the Hutchinson School property, KG&D will also work with outside contractors to conduct geotechnical exploration of the rock outcroppings to determine if/how much rock may need to be removed and the structural implications for the new building.

KG&D will also work with various consultants and contractors to determine the cost and plans for the various other projects, including approaches to the renovation of the current District office space into classrooms, the scope and budget for the annex roof replacement, the middle school HVAC unit replacement and others.

More about the SEQRA Process

Under New York State Law, the District is required to assess the environmental impact of any proposed projects. To ensure that this process is completed in an objective and comprehensive manner, the District, following a request for proposals, has retained a specialized consulting firm, Tim Miller Associates, to conduct this work. This process is designed to determine if the various projects, including the new elementary school, will have an adverse impact on the environment using a variety of factors, such as traffic, visuals, noise and air quality, among others. The Board of Education cannot schedule the bond referendum until the SEQRA process is complete.