New District Architects Selected for the Scarsdale Schools
- Published on Tuesday, 14 February 2017 18:18
- Joanne Wallenstein
The Scarsdale Schools has selected a new architectural firm to handle all the districts building needs. At the February 13 meeting of the Board of Education, the board voted unanimously to appoint BBS Architects and Engineers from Patchogue, praising their "ability to dream and think big and to handle the nuts and bolts of what we (the district) need on a daily basis."
In making the decision, the board and administration checked many references and said all were "outstanding." Board President Lee Maude and Board Member Scott Silberfein visited schools in Rockville Center and Garden City that BBS designed and said, "their architecture reflects their town and their way of thinking." Maude said they visited a school in Garden City where they saw a beautiful addition of a music room.
BBS will be charged with a district-wide facilities master plan and with assessing conditions at the Greenacres Elementary School and making recommendations for a renovation or a replacement. According to Board member Nina Cannon, the firm will "go above and beyond to meet our demands and involve all the stakeholders in the process to move it forward in a positive way." See more here:
Concluding the discussion, Board President Lee Maude said, "I hope as we go forward we're not scared of the facts. Let them bring us the facts – good, bad or ugly in terms of actual costs of new vs. renovation ... let them show it to us. Let the facts take us to the right decision."
Below find the press release from the Scarsdale School District about the appointment of BBS.
Scarsdale, February 14, 2017: The selection of BBS came after an intensive process which began in December 2016, when a Request for Proposals (with a due date of January 18) was sent to 48 school architects in the region and advertised in the New York Times. A total of 18 architectural firms submitted formal proposals.
The RFP encompassed architectural and engineering services for the planning, design, and construction phases for all upcoming capital projects, including the possible major renovation/replacement of Greenacres Elementary School. Specifically, the RFP sought the following services:
-Planning, design, and construction phases to address various renovations and improvements at the District's numerous facilities
-Developing creative and innovative approaches in the renovation of older buildings, while maintaining their historical character, when appropriate and as needed
-Developing creative and innovative solutions for 21st century educational facilities
The 18 proposals were then vetted by District administrators for adherence to qualifications listed in the RFP, as well as other desired qualities. Because all New York public school districts' major capital projects must be approved by the New York State Education Department, firms without experience in that process were excluded. Additional consideration was given to design aesthetic, renovation and new construction experience, collaboration and problem-solving skills, and time and resources available for the District's current and ongoing needs.
After multiple reference calls, a top tier of candidates emerged: BBS Architects & Engineers, KSQ Design, Peter Gisolfi Associates, CS Arch, and a partnership between Geddis Architects and Dattner Architects. These candidates were recommended to the Board of Education for interviews.
The interviews were held over the course of two evenings in Board Meetings open to the public. Interviews were slated for approximately 45 minutes a piece, and included an introductory presentation and follow-up questions by the Board of Education. After the last of these interviews, the Board of Education adjourned into Executive Session for discussion leading to the employment of a corporation.
On Friday, February 3rd a public notice went out to the community, stating that the Board of Education would be interviewing "finalists" the following week on Tuesday, February 7th. As a result of the interview sessions, overwhelmingly positive reference checks, and full consensus of the Board and District administration, BBS Architects & Engineers was invited back for a follow-up interview.
Dr. Thomas Hagerman, Superintendent of Schools, noted: "With over 60 professionals on staff, BBS set itself apart from most of the competition with its in-house engineering abilities, technical strengths, project approaches, and master planning experience. During their initial interview, BBS illustrated 12 different major projects that demonstrated their capacity to build new buildings and to renovate extensively, and explained the processes they used to actualize each of these projects."
Dr. Hagerman further noted that reference checks generated outstanding reviews of BBS, highlighting their ability to work with the district and community throughout project development, quality of design work, and budget adherence. In addition, Board Members and District administration had the opportunity to visit elementary, middle and high school projects which further illustrated the capabilities of this firm, including examples of complex renovations and new construction, additions of award-winning elementary spaces, and examples of collaborative learning design.
BBS returned to Scarsdale last week for a second visit and more intensive Q & A with the Board of Education and Administrative Cabinet. Dr. Hagerman reported: "At this meeting BBS again demonstrated its knowledge of working with a variety of facility needs, including how to improve instructional spaces to meet a district's changing needs, and a strong competency in a host of infrastructure challenges. In addition, they provided a clear and impressive community-based approach to project development--from beginning to end.
"Finally, although not a primary consideration for this decision, BBS costs were the lowest among all interviewees. With the scope and scale of capital work in the District over the next many years, there is no doubt that the community, as it does in all areas, expects fiscally prudent stewardship in this area."