Frequently Asked Questions

 

New Hutchinson School

Why build a new Hutchinson School?

A: In July 2016 significant bulging and cracking were observed on the school’s brick facade. After analysis, the District’s consultants recommended replacement of the facade, roof, all windows, and window lintels. A second independent evaluator confirmed this recommendation. The Board then began an extensive analysis of the building and identified other issues such as the expected usable life of the portables, undersized and below-grade classrooms, limited space for related services (Academic Intervention Services, Reading, Speech, occupational therapy, etc.), moisture issues in basement-level rooms, current capacity, projected growth in student enrollment, and accessibility into and within the school. Additional issues related to security were identified such as daily use of freestanding portable classrooms, several unmanned exterior doors, and a sidewalk-level classroom on Lincoln Avenue. After consultation with our architect, legal counsel, and representatives at the State Education Department, the District learned that the scope of the facade repair would require that the District address ADA accessibility at the school. To do so in such a way that would not result in loss of classroom space for this school, which is currently functioning at capacity and projected to grow, an expansion would be needed which would minimally cost approximately $18,000,000 including the building envelope replacement. In addition, the Board determined that the portables and the use of inadequate basement classrooms should be addressed at the same time as the facade and accessibility issues.  

In addition to addressing the identified issues above, the new school will include a cafeteria/multipurpose room with a kitchen and stage, a separate gymnasium, a dedicated MakerSpace, a learning commons/library, classroom space to accommodate additional District special education programming, flexible classroom space to address current and projected enrollment, central air-conditioning, up-to-date technology infrastructure, updated security systems, and environmental features, such as a green roof. Site work will include restoration of the field behind the school, a kindergarten playground adjacent to kindergarten classrooms, creation of a new playground in the footprint of the old school, increased parking, and a small community park to mark the site of the original Pelham Public Library.

What factors led to the decision to build a new Hutchinson School rather than renovate/expand the current building?

A: The Board reviewed 7 different partial renovation/expansion options of varying size and varying levels of interior renovation as well as the new school option. They weighed these options using a decision analysis process that included criteria related to capacity, disruption to the learning process during construction, supporting our educational program, safety, preserving flexibility for new programming in future years, predictability during construction, fiscal stewardship, value added to the community, and life quality features. After extensive debate and analysis, the new school scored the highest in 8 of the 9 criteria and is being included in the final bond proposal.

Why does a new elementary school cost $42.4 million?

A: The $42.4 million includes all costs required for the Hutchinson Site. In addition to full construction costs and furnishings, this price includes rock removal, preparation of the site, remediation and demolition of the existing Hutchinson School and portables, and final site work such as roads, parking lots, and construction of the new playground and field on the site. Finally, there are construction and design contingencies, as well as project and escalation costs. The proposed budget includes funding for a gymnasium comparable in size to the middle school gym. Should the Board decide, these funds could be reallocated within the project to create additional instructional space and provide a gym comparable to the size of the current Hutchinson School gym.  All work will go out for competitive bidding once the bond is approved. It is important to note that school districts are required to pay workers “prevailing wage”, which is set by New York State.

Please view this report for a full breakdown of all project costs.

Will Hutchinson students remain in the building during construction?

A: Students will remain in the current building throughout the duration of construction. During this time, the District will continue to monitor the facade and make any necessary repairs to ensure the safety of our students. District masonry consultants are monitoring the facade on a quarterly basis. During construction of the new school, the property will be cordoned off to separate student space from construction areas. Students will make use of Julianne’s Playground for recess during the construction period.

When would construction of the new Hutchinson School begin?

A: The soonest construction of the new Hutchinson School would begin is Summer of 2019. This is largely dependent upon NYSED approval of projects, followed by the competitive bidding of projects, availability of contractors, and staging of projects around the school calendar and programs.

When would the new Hutchinson School be completed?

A: The new Hutchinson School is projected to be ready for occupancy in September 2022. Site work to complete the project will likely continue into the following year.

What are the plans for the current Hutchinson School when the new school is completed?

A: Once construction of the new school is complete the old school will be removed and the footprint of the old school will be repurposed to become the playground and a small community park. All demolition and site restoration is included in the total bond cost.

Will there still be a field at Hutchinson School?

A: The proposed site for the new school is on the north side of the property where the field is currently located. The site plan calls for removal of the rock outcropping adjacent to the current field. Once construction of the new school is complete and demolition of the old school is finished a field comparable in size to the current one will be built at the site of the former rock outcropping. The new baseball field will also be usable for other field sports such as soccer, lacrosse, etc.   

What size gym will be included in the new Hutchinson School?

A: Funding is included within the proposed budget to include a gymnasium comparable in size to the middle school gym. Should the Board decide, these funds could be reallocated within the project to create additional instructional space and provide a gym comparable to the size of the current Hutchinson School gym.

How will the new Hutchinson School be used by students in other elementary school zones and the community at large?

A: The New Hutchinson School will provide opportunities to offer large spaces for District-wide activities. Potential programs might include a District-wide maker fair, science fair, music festival etc. If the board elects to include a larger gym in the final design, which could be done within the current project costs, it would provide more practice space for District athletics. The new Hutchinson School should help to ease capacity issues at Colonial by including space to accommodate a district-wide special education class that is currently housed at Colonial School. The District’s extended school year special education program for elementary grades has traditionally been housed at the middle school to provide air-conditioned classrooms for the students. This program will now be able to be held at the new Hutchinson School, which will include developmentally appropriate classroom furnishings.

The new Hutchinson School can also provide additional air-conditioned large spaces for community use during non-school hours. The fully air conditioned cafeteria will be equipped with a stage and a kitchen, the gymnasium will provide comparable or increased recreation space for the community, and the facility could be used for civic, recreational and continuing educational opportunities, among others.

High School Renovation

Why is a renovation of PMHS included in this bond proposal?

A: Functional capacity studies show that PMS and PMHS are functioning over capacity and are also projected to continue to grow in enrollment. This proposal addresses capacity issues at the high school and middle school through the renovation of the current Administrative Offices into 6 standard classrooms, one orchestra room, and one orchestra storage room. It will also include renovation of two science classrooms to support science research, physics and computer science classes.

Where will central offices be located once the construction at the MS/HS begins?

A: Once construction at the MS/HS begins, central administrators would move into rental offices for the foreseeable future. If the bond is successful, the District will look to find suitable office space and plan to fund the rental through the operating budget. Based on initial inquiries into suitable office space, annual rent is estimated to be $150,000. This does not include utilities, insurance, and maintenance.

Why are orchestra rehearsal and storage rooms included in the HS/MS renovation?

A: The high school and middle school orchestras are the only music classes that don’t have dedicated rehearsal space. Both currently rehearse on the stage in the high school auditorium. When there are other functions in that space, such as school plays or assemblies, the orchestras are unable to rehearse. In addition, the setup and breakdown of music equipment results in a loss of  instructional time every day. Additional instructional time is lost due to the fact that middle school students have to store their instruments near the middle school main office, which is far away from the auditorium. This renovation will create dedicated space for rehearsal and storage adjacent to the rehearsal room.

Why are science upgrades included in the HS/MS renovation?

A: Our science research program, which has grown steadily, currently meets in a small, windowless, converted lab prep room. Students often overflow into the hallway as they need space to develop presentations, collaborate on projects, and conference with teachers. The planned classroom upgrades will renovate a current science room with the needed space, configuration and resources to support the unique learning activities inherent in the science research program. An additional science classroom will be upgraded to create a designated space specifically equipped to support physics and computer science classes.

Why are the PMHS annex roof and parapets proposed to be replaced?

A: The replacement of the PMHS annex roof and parapets, which are original the building’s construction in 1964, will address water intrusion and leakage in the building.

Prospect Hill Renovation and Accessibility

How will the Prospect Hill renovation improve security at the school?

A: This proposal includes construction of a modern, double-door security vestibule at Prospect Hill School while preserving the current architecture of  the grand lobby. This renovation will bring Prospect Hill in line with safety and security features already in place at the other elementary schools.

How does this bond proposal increase accessibility at and within Pelham’s schools?

A: This proposal moves the district closer to its goal of accessibility at all schools. The renovation at Prospect Hill will include installation of a new elevator and bathroom upgrades to make the school fully ADA accessible. Additionally, this proposal will address all accessibility issues within and outside of Hutchinson School, bringing 5 out of 6 schools up to current ADA regulations.

What is the District’s plan to make Siwanoy accessible?

Siwanoy School is currently accessible from the outside in two different places. District staff are looking for ways to increase accessibility within the school.

Fields/Athletics

Why add turf instead of natural grass at Glover?

A: Turf is being included in this project to extend the usability of our fields. Turf can withstand more frequent use than grass, can lengthen the playing seasons, and can withstand use by multiple teams each day in a variety of weather conditions, which will help to meet the increased demand on our fields as a result of increased enrollment, increased participation in our athletic programs, and sustained use by our community recreation programs.

Why is replacement of the Glover tennis courts proposed?

A: Replacing the tennis courts at Glover will address cracking and uneven surfaces that have developed over the years.

Bond Referendum

When and where can I vote on May 15?

A: The vote will take place on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 in the PMHS gym at 575 Colonial Avenue. Polls will be open from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

What will be on the May 15 ballot?

A: The Tuesday, May 15 referendum will include the annual school budget vote, the two bond propositions and a school board member election to fill two open seats. Registered voters may vote on each item. For the bond referendum, voters will vote on both Proposition 1 and Proposition 2. If Proposition 2 is approved, it will only be implemented if Proposition 1 is also approved.

What projects are included in the bond proposal?

A:

Proposition 1 includes:

  • A New Hutchinson School to address accessibility, safety and security, projected enrollment, and infrastructure;
  • Renovation at PMHS/PMS to provide 6 additional classrooms, dedicated orchestra rehearsal and storage rooms, science lab and research room upgrades;
  • Security & ADA accessibility upgrades at Prospect Hill School including a double-door security vestibule, new elevator, and bathroom upgrades; and
  • Replacement of 1964 roof and parapets on the PMHS Annex, and masonry repointing on PMS.

The total cost of Proposition 1 is $52,900,000.

Proposition 2 includes:

  • Turfing of Glover baseball/practice fields (Varsity, A, and B);
  • Tennis Court replacement at Glover Complex; and
  • Irrigation and renovation of Prospect Hill field.

The total cost of Proposition 2 is $4,624,892.

If Proposition 2 is approved, it will only be implemented if Proposition 1 is also approved.

Why are the propositions connected?

A: The propositions were grouped by facilities and fields projects and connected with the goal of assuring the facilities projects would be addressed prior to addressing fields projects. Additionally, the fields work is only eligible for 39% state building aid when paired with a building project at its respective school. The expected state building aid for Proposition 2 is approximately $2.2 million. If the field work proposition were to be approved on its own, and the facilities proposition failed, the field work would not be eligible for any of the 39% building aid reimbursement.

How will this impact my taxes?

A: The Estimated Annual Tax Impact for Proposition 1 is $79 per $100,000 of assessed home value and the Estimated Annual Tax Impact for Proposition 2 is $7 per $100,000 of assessed home value. The fields/athletic facilities projects in Proposition 2 are expected to qualify for state building aid when paired with projects in Proposition 1. The full impact of these bonds is anticipated to be phased in by the 2022-23 school year. These estimated annual tax impacts are based on the 2017-18 base proportions and assessment roll, and the interest rate used is the current Municipal Market Data (MMD) + 50 basis points to allow for changing rates.

Please use our tax calculator to see your individual tax impact based on your assessed home value.

Are we getting state aid?

A: The District will receive approximately 39% reimbursement in state building aid for the aidable portions of these projects in subsequent years. Estimated tax impacts are based on the net local share, accounting for state building aid reimbursement and interest costs. The net result is that the District expects to receive approximately $13.9 million in New York State building aid for Proposition 1 and $2.2 million for Proposition 2. The fields work is eligible for 39% state building aid when paired with a building project at its respective school.

Please use our tax calculator to see your individual tax impact based on your assessed home value.

When will the taxpayer feel the impact of the bond?  

A: Tax increases related to the bond will begin to phase in during the 2019-20 school year with the full increase phasing in by the 2022-23 school year. As is the case with all borrowing, these increases will be reflected in debt service within the annual operating budget each year.  

Please view the full Capital Markets Debt analysis for further information.

When are other district debts paid off?

A: The bulk of the District’s current debt will be paid off in 12 years which is the end of the 2030 school year. All current debt will be paid off by the 2032-33 school year.

Please view the full Capital Markets Debt analysis for further information.

What if there are cost overruns?

A: The District may not expend more than the amount approved by the voters. Proposition 1 is $52,900,000, Proposition 2 is $4,624,892. These totals include design contingencies, construction contingencies, project costs, and escalation costs to ensure the project comes in at or under budget.

How can I register to vote?

A: You can register in person with the School District Board of Registration on the following dates in the District Office at 18 Franklin Place:

  • Monday, April 16th, 10 am - 2 pm
  • Saturday, April 28th, 10 am - 2 pm
  • Monday, May 7th, 4 pm to 8 pm

You can register with the County by filling in a voter registration form available from the Town Clerk (738-0777), the Superintendent’s Office (738-3434, x-1155) or download a form on the Westchester County Board of Elections website. Once the form is printed, sign it in blue or black ink. Only an original copy can be submitted. Digital or portable-document-file-generated (ie. Adobe Acrobat) signatures are not acceptable. The form must then be mailed or delivered to the Westchester County Board of Elections per the instructions and address provided on the form.

More information about voting is available here.

How can I obtain an absentee ballot?

A: If a voter won't be able to get to the polls on May 15th between 7 am and 9 pm, for one or more of the following reasons, absentee ballots are available:

  • Unavoidably absent from Westchester County on May 15th
  • Unable to appear at the polls due to illness or disability
  • A patient in a Veterans’ Administration  Hospital
  • Detained in jail awaiting Grand Jury action or confined in prison after conviction for an offense other than a felony

There are three steps necessary to vote by absentee ballot: (1) filing an application; (2) filling in the ballot after receipt; and (3)returning the ballot.

Applications for absentee ballots may be downloaded from the District website, and are also available at the Superintendent's office, or by calling the District Clerk at 738-3434.

If ballots are to be mailed to the voter, completed applications must be returned to the District Clerk at 18 Franklin Place, Pelham, NY 10803 no later than 4:00 p.m. E.S.T. on May 8.

If applications are delivered personally, they must be turned in to the District Clerk at 18 Franklin Place by 4:00 p.m. on May 14. You will be given a ballot that must be returned by 5:00 p.m. on May 15.

Stevie Pollock, the District Clerk, is located at 18 Franklin Place. Please call her for all questions on the vote and election at 738-3434.