By LIZ BUTTON
Bronxville School’s new middle school science wing should be ready for the 2014-2015 school year, and projected completion of the school’s new auditorium is right on schedule for next winter, according to district officials.
“The timeline for completion has not changed,” Assistant Superintendent for Business Dan Carlin said.
The construction schedule for the $10 million combined project was laid out at the Jan. 16 Board of Education meeting, during which the board also approved agreements with four contractors to carry out the two projects.
This spring, from March 4 to May 5, workers demolished the interior of the auditorium, which is used by students from all grades, and dismantled the balcony and stage. Excavation for the auditorium’s new side lobby began immediately after demolition, according to Carlin.
The two projects, which share a $10 million budget, are similar in that the areas’ spatial configurations, rather than their sizes, will change the most, according to Carlin.
“We’ve been discussing these projects since I’ve been here,” Carlin said.
Both projects, he said, have been on the district’s docket since long before his time, which began six years ago.
Compared to the auditorium project, which began in February and is scheduled for completion next February, the science lab project is “less substantive in scope, but definitely not in importance,” Carlin said.
Demolition for the lab project, which involves the creation of a new middle school science wing, is scheduled to begin on June 27, 2014, one day after students clear out for summer vacation.
Plans by Mount Kisco-based architectural firm KG&D, which the district hired to design both projects, call for creating four science labs along with a large prep room, and moving classrooms to the end of the hallway to consolidate space.
The school’s science labs have not been renovated in 40 years, so KG&D worked with Bronxville science teachers to design a classroom space more suited to modern students’ needs.
When it comes to the auditorium, now that excavation is complete, workers are laying the foundation for the space’s new side lobby addition, Carlin said.
Other changes include enlarging the stage, installing bigger seats, adding a sloped floor to create stadium-style seating and making changes to improve acoustics and sightlines to and from the stage.
None of the changes will alter the overall space inside the auditorium.
“The size of the interior space…is not going to change: it’s going to remain the way it is,” Carlin said.
Studies and plans for improvement to the auditorium space have been around for 15 years, Bronxville Superintendent Dr. David Quattrone said, but now, through the commitment of the Board of Education and the generosity of the Bronxville School Foundation, the PTA and donations from individual residents, students will finally have the arena their talents deserve.
“Bronxville takes pride in its thriving music and performing arts program, but our auditorium has long been a limiting factor. The facility is way overdue for renovation,” he said. “The sight lines are poor and the space has proved inflexible, even though every single Bronxville student passes through the auditorium every single year.”
Voters approved bonding for both sets of renovations in an October 2012 referendum.
The New York State Education Department approved the plans earlier this year, and the district put the projects out to bid on Dec. 17, 2013.
The $10 million cost of the two-pronged plan breaks down into three portions: $4.5 million has been bonded, $3 million comes from fundraising and $2.5 million comes from the district’s capital reserves, according to Carlin.
In January, the district signed contracts with Kenstar Construction for $4.2 million; Pearl River Plumbing for around $343,000; Mengler Mechanical for HVAC work at $1.07 million and with Lippolis Electric for $1.4
Other cost allocations included in the $10 million budget represent contingency funding and soft costs like testing and inspection fees, equipment and an allowance for landscaping.
Middle school Principal Thomas Wilson could not be reached for comment as of press time.