Supt's Scoop

Dr. Manno's Bedford Central Brief, Edition #3, Summer 2016


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West Patent Elementary School Construction Update

The Problem

  • As part of the third year of the District's capital project, construction this summer at WPES included:

    • Adding two STEM rooms

    • Replacing certain windows

    • Replacing lighting throughout the building

    • Site work

  • Prior to the June 27th planned beginning of the project, non-friable asbestos was discovered on some ceiling tiles. Non-friable means the material was not airborne nor did it pose any danger; however, it needed to be removed.

  • On July 1, 2016, the BoE declared an emergency to execute the asbestos abatement.

  • The construction schedule was reworked to account for the abatement, and therefore, the construction started later than planned.

  • The abatement did not go according to schedule. It was completed on August 7th.

  • The District worked closely with its asbestos consultant to ensure that the building is asbestos free.

  • Due to the abatement taking longer than anticipated, the District took action to accelerate the construction schedule.

  • The construction schedule as it now stands, if all goes as planned, would allow teachers into the building as early as Monday, August 29th to set up classrooms for instruction.

  • Students are scheduled to return to school on Thursday, September 1st.

  • This leaves teachers with minimal time to set up their classrooms.

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What does this mean?

The start of school is scheduled for students on Thursday, September 1st. WPES classroom furniture, supplies, and materials are stored in the gymnasium and in other schools. Such material needs to be distributed to classrooms, and then teachers need time to prepare their classrooms for student learning. If there is any further delay in the construction timeline, thus delaying the move of materials into classrooms, this could compromise the ability of teachers to have time to prepare their classrooms sufficiently for the students' arrival on Thursday, September 1st.

What has the district done, and what are we doing about this?

The Construction Steering Committee has met at least weekly throughout this summer to monitor progress on the project. On several occasions, the District approved acceleration of the project. Dr. Manno, Superintendent of Schools, along with representatives of the Board of Education, convened a representative stakeholder group to study the problem, and to provide input and insights into possible solutions given several scenarios. In addition to Dr. Manno, Board President Colette Dow, and Board Member Michelle Brooks, the group included the Principal, teachers and staff, parent leaders, our construction management firm, our architect, and representatives from several operational departments including the business office, and our buildings and grounds/maintenance team.
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What are the scenarios?

Scenario #1: On-time start for students - The teachers would be able to have access to their classrooms by Monday, August 29th. If the movers and our custodial staff have ample opportunity to move furniture, supplies, and equipment into classrooms such that teachers may set up their learning environments, then students can begin school on Thursday, September 1st.

Scenario #2: Up to 7 school days delay in the start of school for students - In this case, the teachers would NOT be able to have access to their classrooms by Monday, August 29th. Delays in construction and the ability to move furniture, supplies, and materials into the classrooms could cause West Patent students only to be delayed in their school start. Our construction management firm indicates that a 1-4 day delay is the most likely scenario. However, it is not out of the realm of possibility, depending on how the project progresses, that the delay under this scenario could be up to 7 school days. See make-up schedule below.

Scenario #3: Up to several weeks delay in access to WPES for staff and students - While our construction management firm believes this scenario is unlikely, we needed to explore it. In this case, the teachers would NOT be able to have access to their classrooms by Monday, August 29th, and the teachers and students would not have access to WPES for several weeks. In this case, West Patent students would be dispersed most likely by grade level to Bedford Hills Elementary School, Bedford Village Elementary School, and Pound Ridge Elementary School. Again, based on the information we have right now, this scenario is unlikely. However, we must be responsible and plan for a worst case scenario. If this were necessary, much more detailed action planning would be required and would involve stakeholders. More information would be distributed to families with great detail.

What happens next?

The Construction Steering Committee will continue to meet at least weekly. During the week of August 22nd, Dr. Manno will send another update to the community regarding our progress and status, and will explain the plan of action given the existing scenario at that time.

We are cautiously optimistic that we are facing either an on-time school opening for West Patent Elementary staff and students, or more likely a delay of 1-4 days.

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If West Patent needs to be delayed, here is the schedule of make-up days.

September 1st --> made up on March 17th, Half Day for students

September 2nd --> made up on October 28th, Half Day for students

These are subject to change based on additional research on NYSED school attendance requirements. A final schedule will be published in the next Supt's Scoop:

September 6th --> made up on February 24th

September 7th --> made up on February 23rd

September 8th --> made up on February 22nd

September 9th --> made up on February 21st

September 12th --> made up on April 17th

Please note:

  • Any student absence on a make-up day will be an excused absence.
  • The October and March half days were intended for parent-teacher conferences with no school for elementary children. The teachers would accommodate conferences during other times to ensure parents have an opportunity for their conferences.
  • The District is working with providers at this time to explore options for child care on days in which WPES might be closed in September.

A final note from Dr. Manno and the Board of Education

Please know we are doing everything possible to:

  1. Start the school year for the students in a positive and normal manner.
  2. Keep families informed of the status and progress along the way.
  3. Involve stakeholders, and listen to and consider input.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Manno at with comments or questions. He would be happy to hear from you.