A Matter of Trust: Concerns with Credibility and Competency of District Architect, BBS
- Shout it Out
- Published on Thursday, 01 June 2017 14:19
- Joanne Wallenstein
(This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Jon Krisbergh) To the Editor and the Scarsdale Community:
It was clear at the Board of Education’s, May 22, 2017 meeting that both the Board and many of the community members in attendance were surprised by the presentation of the newly hired district architect, BBS. In a 2.5-hour presentation outlining its proposal for all 7 District school buildings, including Greenacres, the architect called his credibility into question and minimized the needs of the Greenacres School to justify an inadequate solution that does not have the student’s best interests in mind.
The Scarsdale community must not allow the Administration and Board to pursue the plan as presented and community members must voice their opposition to this poorly thought-out proposal.
It has been raised before in Scarsdale10583 and at previous Board meetings that parents and residents have serious safety concerns with any major renovation that is to be carried out with the children in the school. It will put children in harm’s way and subject them to dangerous environmental hazards such as asbestos, lead paint and harmful noise levels. BBB’s proposed renovation leaves the children in the school during the project and does not provide for trailers. BBS provided no environmental impact analysis and dismissively suggested that such renovations could be done with children in the building without providing any detail about how that would be accomplished.
The architect gave no comfort to the Board or the community that it would take these safety concerns seriously or that it would prioritize children’s safety. Unfortunately, the regulations the architect relies on to justify his dismissal of these concerns are rooted in reporting by the architects, engineers and contractors that perform the work, not in actual oversight or monitoring.
Even with the best intentions to abide by the regulations, too many instances of accidental exposure during school renovations have occurred to allow a renovation to take place while the children are in the school. But there are other red flags in BBS’s proposal that should give us pause.
Cost Analysis Missing
As has been raised many times before, including by the Education Committee of the Scarsdale Forum’s November 3, 2016 Report, the School Board and the community need to have a solid understanding of the costs associated with the proposed project.
BBS did not provide any cost estimates or show any level of analysis into the costs of its proposal. Further, there was no option for a new school building for Greenacres even though Dr. Hagerman stated that the architect was tasked with considering such an option. The architect simply said a new school would…