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bricksHow high are the retaining walls in front of the proposed addition at Greenacres? Where will the storm water go and what about the humid conditions in the gym? We posed some questions about the renovation and expansion at Greenacres School to Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey in December and received his responses on Thursday, January 11, 2018. The questions concerned the siting of the building, air quality, the budget and sustainability.

Though some of the answers beget more questions, here is what we learned:

(Question) There is a $1,000,000 budget line for historic renovation/preservation premium allowance. Please explain how those funds will be used:

(Answer) These funds have been budgeted in the proposed bond in order to provide the ability for enhanced detailing, both interior and exterior in order to preserve, maintain and further the integrity of the historic architectural elements/qualities of this building.

(Point of information:) The building is not included on the state or federal register of historic buildings.

(Question) What is the contingency % for the renovation at Greenacres and where can I find those funds in the bond proposal?

(Answer) As per normal scope estimating, all estimates for all of the identified scope items in the proposed project include a percent amount set aside for contingency (approximately 17%) there is also contingency for cost escalation (5%) and 13.5% set aside for soft costs.

(Question) What is the plan for drainage and storm water management? The size of the building will expand and pretty much cover all the building site – where will the water go?

(Answer) The proposed addition and associated disturbance is below the 1-acre threshold for storm water management (established by the NYSDEC) and does not require post construction storm water management practices. However, the project design has elected to incorporate storm water management controls into the scope and consulted with the village on a schematic level. Roof runoff, as a result of the new addition coverage, will be captured and mitigated using an appropriately-sized underground storage facility (vault) that will detain and control the release of storm water into the existing municipal separate storm sewer system. Mitigation will be achieved by controlling up to the 100- year, 24-hour rainfall event back to below pre-construction flow rates.

Air Quality

Humidity levels in the gym were reported at 65% in October, 2017. The new renovation calls for the existing windows to be covered up by the building addition. Air conditioning will not be included for the gym. The district's report says, "The chief problem with high indoor humidity from a health standpoint is the potential for mold growth. Humidity levels greater than 30% increase the potential for mold growth and high humidity, 60% or greater can cause biological contamination." The humidity levels in on the lower level of the school ranged from 63% to 71% and the humidity in the gym was measured at 65%.

Therefore we asked Mattey the following question:

(Question) Please let us know how fresh air will be brought into the gym and how the humidity will be decreased?

(Answer) Fresh air will be brought into the Greenacres gym via the existing relatively new heating and ventilating units, which operate to current code. Filtration will be added on the outdoor air intakes to reduce any intake of dust. Humidity would be controlled the same way it is currently, through the introduction of fresh air. That space will essentially remain the same as its current operation which is similar to all other buildings except for Heathcote where a ventilating unit is proposed in the project as it currently does not have one.

Building Design

We also noted that the renderings of the proposed building show the elevation from an aerial view or a point way out in the field. They do not show how the building would appear to a person standing on the sidewalk in front of it. Some have expressed concern that since the proposed three story building extends almost to the sidewalk on Huntington Road, it will be imposing and out of scale with the neighborhood.

Therefore, we requested that architect provide a rendering from the vantage point of a person standing in the plaza at the Huntington Road side of the school. We asked for a drawing that shows the view up to the roof and to each side.

Mattey responded: "The architect is currently working on additional renderings now that the BOE has approved the project to move forward to District voters. "


We are also concerned that the new building is being cut into a hill, requiring the use of retaining walls. We asked, "What is the height of the retaining wall in front of the building?"

(Answer) The retaining wall in the student gathering area starts at 18" as a bench and rises to a height of 60"  (5 feet) of which will include that same 18" bench (18" of bench + 42" of retaining wall at the highest point). The retaining wall immediately outside of the Learning Commons will start at approximately 60" at the new entranceway and gradually decrease to approximately 12" as it approaches Sage Terrace.

Do you have questions about the proposal? Post them in the comments section below and we'll see if we can get some answers.

zariaThis letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by the Board of the Scarsdale Student Transfer Education Plan (STEP)

Dear Friends: For over half a century, our community has had the distinct privilege of supporting the Scarsdale Student Transfer Education Plan (STEP). Founded by Eric Rothschild in 1966, STEP has brought a diverse group of promising young men and women -- who face limited opportunities in their hometowns -- to live and learn in Scarsdale.

Applicants to the program go through a rigorous interview and selection process, and those who are chosen reside with a local family and attend Scarsdale High School for their junior and senior years. The program's ultimate goal is to help these talented students apply to, and then attend, a college of their choice – complete with an excellent financial aid package. This program is funded entirely by donations from the Scarsdale community. And we need your help now.

How better to explain the worth of this extraordinary program, than by giving you a sense of the students themselves? Our current STEP students are Fredrik Smith Jr. (SHS '19 – from Memphis, TN) and Zaria Cash (SHS '18 – also from Memphis, TN).

Zaria is an active member of the cheerleading squad and in addition to her regular classes she is taking an independent study course in Forensic Science. She is currently applying to a variety of competitive colleges and we cannot wait to see where she ends up! Zaria hopes to study nursing and work in the health care industry.

Fred just arrived this year and served as the manager of the SHS varsity football team. He hopes to participate in wrestling, track and field and play on the varsity football team next year as a senior. Fred excels in math and wants to study engineering in college.

To give you an even better idea of how these worthy students benefit from the program, here's a quick overview of our two most recent STEP graduates:

Robert Lee (SHS '15) was beloved at Scarsdale High School. He was an active member of many community service clubs and was a representative for the Student Government. He is currently enrolled at Vanderbilt University on a full scholarship and he was the recipient of the prestigious Ingram Scholarship. He plans to study abroad in New Zealand in the spring.

DonTavius Holmes (SHS '16) embraced all that Scarsdale High School had to offer and played both football and basketball while a student. He participated in Northwestern University's Center for Talent Development Program in Civics education and is now in his sophomore year at Emory's Oxford University where he is studying Business.

These success stories would not be imaginable without you as we rely on the generous donations of the Scarsdale community to help change make these "transformations" possible. By contributing to our program, you invest in the future and directly – and dramatically -- impact these young students' ability to succeed. Your tax-deductible gift to STEP helps defray the cost of transportation and education-related expenses for students while they are in Scarsdale. It also helps us find and recruit promising future scholars.

Please, help us change the world for the better with a tax-deductible donation through the website or send a check to: STEP, PO Box 278, Scarsdale, NY 10583.

basketballThe Scarsdale Girl's Basketball team is used to blowing leads. Of the six games last season where the Raiders were leading into the third quarter, they won less than half. So during their game on December 18 against Suffern, when the score was tied at the half, it would have been easy for the team to accept an inevitable loss. The Raider lost to Suffern last season and it was an important test for this year's team.

"We have a solid group of veteran players. We just need to figure out where everyone fits, mesh in the way that we play, and get a few wins under our belt", said Senior Guard Audrey Shaev. The team returned all but three players from last year, losing Seniors Ashley Barletta, Emma Coleman, and Jordie Cohen. With a win, the team would differentiate itself from last year's roster. The Raiders lost their first two games of the season, one against the dominant section champions Ossining, and the other against an unfamiliar team from the New York City Catholic League.

A win against Suffern would provide a good basis to establish Scarsdale among Section 1 opponents. Going into the first quarter of the game, Senior Forward Lily Steckel emphasized the importance of consistency. "Usually we play well after we get on a roll, but for this game we wanted to make sure that we executed all 32 minutes." This attitude was evident in the first quarter, as Scarsdale went up early leading 15-7 going into the second. However, Scarsdale's lack of defensive intensity and inability to finish open shots allowed Suffern to tie the game at the half 20-20.

Coming into the third quarter, the girls' mentalities were altered. "We all wanted to win so badly, and we knew that if we didn't take advantage of the third quarter we would get blown out" said Sophomore Kayla Maroney. After a series of exciting runs by both teams, the score was 36-29 for Scarsdale going into the fourth. The team continued to capitalize on the efficiency of the veteran offense, led by Mancini, Steckel, and Shaev. The final score of the game was 52-37 Raiders. With this win, the team improved its record to 1-2.

On Wednesday 12/20 at 4:30 pm the girls will play Clarkstown North away and look to continue to prove themselves as a formidable opponent in league and section play. Support the Raiders at home on Friday 12/22 at 4:15 against Section rival North Rockland.

Kids signing the benchJust before Christmas vacation Heathcote Elementary School students were given the opportunity to get involved with the school's new construction project. They were invited to sign a rafter that will be used in the new multipurpose room. The names of the current Heathcote students will forever be a part of the elementary school's new multipurpose room.

On December 20, Nancy Barbera, Project Executive from Savin Engineers and liaison to Heathcote Elementary, asked Heathcote students to sign a roof rafter that will be used to support the new multipurpose room. She came up with the unique idea to have their signatures be a "time capsule" of the project. 

(Photo credit Laura Halligan)

Bench signatures  Chris Casal Tech teacher 


PesticideSignPatricia (Patti) Wood, a leading expert on the environment and related health issues, will address Forum members at their meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2017 in the Scott Room at the Scarsdale Library. Refreshments will be available at 7:30 pm and the meeting will begin at 8:00 pm. The program is open to the public..

Ms. Wood's presentation will focus on health concerns raised by the significant and growing use of pesticides by homeowners and landscapers in their quest for the "perfect" lawn. A growing body of science has linked exposure to these chemical toxins with a myriad of serious human health problems, harm to wildlife and their habitats and the degradation of our water supplies. As Ms. Wood will explain, pesticide-free, natural lawns are living ecosystems, capable of sequestering carbon in their biomass, recharging and filtering rainwater and pollutants, and cooling ambient temperatures. Advances in soil science and natural lawn care product development in the past few years can produce that weed-free, dense lush turf that can satisfy even the most ardent lover of lawns.

Ms. Wood is a founder and executive director of Grassroots Environmental Education, a 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the relationship between environmental exposures and human health risks. Grassroots serves local and state governments, health care providers, school systems, community groups and other environmental groups and individuals nationwide.

She is the author of two books on health-related environmental issues The ChildSafe School and Helping to Heal; was a co-producer of Our Children at Risk, a thirty minute documentary film which explores the latest scientific research linking environmental toxins to children's health issues, and The BabySafe Project, a program designed to educate pregnant women about the potential risk to the developing fetus from exposures to wireless radiation; and was the co-creator of the web-based initiative, which addresses climate change, sustainability and environmental health on a local level. Ms. Woods has received numerous awards from government entities and private organizations for her work on these issues.

A Visiting Scholar at Adelphi University, Ms. Wood lectures on the environment and related health issues in the College of Nursing and Public Health. Ms. Wood is also a guest lecturer at SUNY Stony Brook, Pace University and Hostos Community College.

Commenting on Ms. Wood's planned program Darlene Lefrancois-Haber Co-Chair, along with Michelle Sterling, of the Forum's Sustainability Committee, said "We are delighted that Patti Wood is bringing her expertise to the Forum. We look forward to the opportunity to learn from a leading proponent of environmentally healthy living and hope to see many of our members and others from our community at the presentation on December 14th."

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