By LIZ BUTTON
Construction on the joint flood mitigation project between the school district and the Village of Bronxville will begin in mid-October, according to the village’s engineering firm J. Robert Folchetti & Associates.
The project design will install a series of pipes under the school’s playing fields to catch floodwater so that it does not back up onto the school’s campus, the firm told the Board of Education members at its March 20 meeting. Folchetti & Associates estimate the project is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2015-2016 school year.
The mitigation plan, which began in the aftermath of the April 2007 Nor’easter that caused $20 million worth of flood damage to the school when it took on four to six feet of water, will also establish a stormwater pumping station on the building’s Midland Avenue side to pump water into the Bronx River during flood events.
In coordination with these flood mitigation measures Fol-chetti has developed, the school’s arc-itects will also redesign the school’s field layout to maximize student athletes’ game and practice space, taking advantage of the time the field will be out of commission due to construction work.
The timetable calls to start digging up the field right after [the 2014] fall sports season. Students would not be able to use Hayes Field again until the 2015 spring sports season begins.
The field project also entails installing a new multi-purpose synthetic turf field. The redesign will cost $1.2 to $1.5 million, which does not include the underground drainage system to be paid for with $6.8 million in flood mitigation project funding secured through FEMA by the village in cooperation with the school district. The FEMA grant has been in the works since 2007. The federal agency will pay 75 percent of the cost of the project, or $5.1 million, and the village will cover the remaining 25 percent, which comes to $1.7 million.
Installing the new field and reconfiguring the sports fields’ design involves rearranging parking. Representatives from KG&D Architects explained that the plan involves creating an additional lot on Meadow Road, which will create more parking spaces once the project is done. Board of Education members noted the field plan would increase sports team scheduling flexibility, but board president David Brashear noted that the architectural firm should adapt the plan to increase the number of parking spaces from the preliminary number presented that night.
The preliminary plan should be finished in April and will be presented to the school and village boards for review. After the firm receives feedback, it will finalize the construction plan over the months of April to August.
The permitting and environmental impact review process should begin in April.
Folchetti & Associates has been developing plans to mitigate flooding in the area since April 2007, in the aftermath of the floods that devastated the Sound Shore region and closed the Bronxville School for several weeks due to high water encroaching on the campus’ buildings. In August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene caused an additional $8 million in damage to the school, further enforcing the need to protect the campus from the perils of flooding.
The field redesign project will be done in two parts: first, the flood mitigation measures will be put in place to prevent water from flooding the fields, and then the new synthetic turf field will be installed at Hayes Field.
“Federal priorities have really shifted since Super Storm Sandy, and the grant of $6.8 million that we got for this purpose would probably not be funded again today. So this is a window of opportunity for the district to make significant inroads on our flood mitigation efforts at minimal cost to the district,” said Brashear.