School construction relocates classes


The Bronxville school building is currently under construction after the ceiling above a third-floor hallway partially collapsed in July.


The ceiling of this third floor classroom will soon be replaced after the partial collapse of a hallway ceiling alerted school officials to other high-risk locations within the century-old Bronxville school building. Photo courtesy Bronxville Union Free School District

According to school officials, nobody was hurt since the more than 100-year-old school building was empty when debris fell from the ceiling.

“As a precautionary measure, the architects looked at the whole building and found other areas that could’ve been repaired,” Bronxville school Superintendent Dr. David Quattrone said.

Quattrone added that, after further inspection, architects with Kaeyer, Garment & Davidson in Mt. Kisco and construction managers with Park East Construction Corporation in Long Island found that certain classrooms located under the attic space on the third floor could also be at risk.

Although the initial plan was estimated to cost $469,000 to repair the existing ceiling, the architects suggested that a more comprehensive long-term solution to the district’s dilemma would be to completely replace the ceiling instead.

“In advance of the repair work commencing, the ceiling was closely inspected so that a work plan could be developed,” Bronxville Board of Education President David Brashear said. “That inspection revealed areas of deterioration that had not been expected. Consequently, the work plan was modified so that the discovered problems could be properly rectified.”

After a special meeting on Aug. 15, Quattrone and the members of the Board of Education decided to authorize spending up to $997,428 to replace the ceiling.

“[The school district] will be tapping into our insurance reserves…and/or our fund balance,” said Dan Carlin, assistant superintendent of business.

Out of the roughly $1 million cost—$377,000 will fund the school’s asbestos contractor, Suburban, for the abatement portion of the project and environmental consultant Omega for air quality testing.
According to Quattrone, with the asbestos abatement aspect of the project nearly complete as of press time, the architects and construction management team will soon begin the demolition, electrical and carpentry work to replace the old ceiling. Construction will extend through the first month of school, primarily during off hours.

For returning students, the Bronxville school building will be open in time for the start of the 2013-2014 school year. However, several students attending class on the third floor will be relocated to other areas within the building. During the construction, several classrooms on the third floor will be unavailable—six on the high school side and four on the middle school side—while access to the third-floor corridor will be phased in as construction nears completion.

“Working together, we have come up with a plan that provides a long-term solution, not just a temporary fix,” Quattrone said. “Finally, we are fortunate that the initial collapse occurred with no one in the building and at a point in time when we can recover with minimal disruption to the education project.”

School officials anticipate the temporary relocation will not impact classes and that the ceiling will be back in place by the end of September.