Letter to the Community from Bronxville Board of Education and Superintendent: Bronxville School Capital Projects to be Pared Back Print

alt

Jun. 12, 2019: Editor's note: Below is an unedited version of a letter sent by the Bronxville Board of Education and Roy R. Montesano, superintendent of the Bronxville Schools, to the Bronxville community on Monday, June 10.

Dear Bronxville Community:
 
We would like to thank you for your ongoing support of our school district. The recent passage of our 2019/20 budget allows us to continue to provide our students with a top-notch educational experience including a full range of academic programs, student services and co-curricular activities. We are pleased to continue to fulfill our vision of the Bronxville Promise.
 
As you may recall, in March 2018 the Bronxville community approved a $21.8 million bond to finance a $24.8 million facilities project that will address district facility needs in three key areas: site improvement and repairs, infrastructure improvements and program-related infrastructure enhancements. Over the past 12 months, we have made significant progress on or completed various Phase 1 bond-funded projects that enhance our school grounds and improve our flood mitigation system. These projects include a renovated elementary school playground, the installation of three additional flood mitigation pumps and the substantial completion of the new Chambers Field and new track, which will be named in honor of longtime cross country and track coach, James Owen Mitchell.
 
However, as we have moved through this process which began more than two years ago, construction costs have increased dramatically faster than we anticipated. This is largely due to a strong economy and amplified work from other Westchester school district bonds as well as other commercial building construction. While a contingency fund and a significant amount of cost escalation were built into the bond scope, they will not cover the additional costs of construction based on the multiple bids we have received for the work.  
 
As a result of this, as well as our promise that the bond project remains cost neutral to the Bronxville taxpayers, we have had to identify other tax neutral sources of funds and pare back the scope of the project as described further below. In connection with this, as part of the recent budget vote, voters approved the transfer and use of $1.5 million of existing funds from our debt service fund in order to supplement our project budget and preserve as much of the original scope as possible. We are pleased that we now stand ready to begin the next phase of construction on our major referendum projects, which we expect to complete sometime in 2021.
 
Phase 2 projects that will begin this summer include: 
  • Expansion of the cafeteria and nurses’ suite.
  • Creation of the third-floor learning community space.
  • Renovation of the high school lobby.
  • Expansion of the guidance suite.
  • Various infrastructure upgrades.
  • Addition of air conditioning on the elementary side of the building.      
Furthermore, the district expects to replace a portion of the exterior drainage system as a result of the most recent flood. This was not an originally anticipated cost or project component but is a necessary upgrade to our overall flood mitigation system. 
 
In addition, during the coming year district administrators and the Board of Education will review plans to convert an existing boiler room into an Innovation Center as outlined in the project scope. It has not yet been determined whether we will have the necessary funds to create this additional space, but we are hopeful that we will be able to do so. We will keep our community informed of the future of this project. Finally, the renovation of the main library will be completed this summer thanks in large part to funds raised by the PTA several years ago.
 
Unfortunately, as noted above, a number of lower priority projects had to be postponed from the original scope of work so a few projects will not be completed as initially outlined.
 
These include: 
  • Upgrade the curtain wall on the exterior of the building.
  • Addition of air conditioning to the first floor A and B wing.
  • Various furnishings for classroom spaces.
  • Toilet room renovations.
  • Replacement of gym divider curtain.
  • Restoration of front steps. 
We are hopeful that as we progress through the revised scope of the project, we will be able to include additional work as well as come back to the voters with a proposal for some of these postponed components in ways that both meet the original scope of the work as well as preserve our overriding promise of keeping this construction project tax neutral to the Bronxville taxpayers.  
 
We will continue to update our community on the bond, and we encourage you to regularly check the Bond Projects Update website for information and photos of our progress. As always, we thank you for your continued support. 
 
Sincerely,
 
The Bronxville Board of Education
Roy R. Montesano, Ed.D., Superintendent

Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.