The White Plains school district conducted a tour of Eastview Middle School Friday morning specifically showing the problems the school has pertaining to a budget vote for building repairs later this month.
Director of Facilities and Operations Frank Stefanelli and Assistant Superintendent for Business Fred Seiler took attending media members throughout the building during school hours, outlining the exact problems within the school that need renovating.
The district is asking to complete a $48.2 million project with $22.5 million going toward the school in most need of help, the Eastview Middle School building. The proposed work on Eastview would occur over the next two summers, in order to prevent distractions once students return from break.
Every year, Stefanelli said, the district does building condition surveys and every five years the district does annual visual inspection independently in order to capture the areas that need upgrades and repairs. The reports are then presented to the board of education so they know exactly what repairs need to be done and the district can plan accordingly.
At Eastview, Stefanelli said the district has maintained the school buildings well, but now a major overhaul is in need.
“We’re at a point now that little fixes here and there are not going to do the job,” Stefanelli said. “The [object] is to do the whole job once so we don’t have to spend dollars every year on major fixes.”
The focus of the fixes is without a doubt the leaking the school has dealt with throughout the years. During the tour, it became apparent that following rainstorms, the building struggled to effectively displace water without it leaking into the building. Stefanelli said, “We have leaks everyday.”
That ranged from the roof, to windows and pipes located throughout the school. In the school gymnasium, the ceiling showed yellow stain marks on what is supposed to be a white ceiling. On the roof, water seepage also is a problem that would be addressed if the capital project bond referendum is passed. Overall, the work would result in part of the building being torn down.
“The last thing you want to do is disturb classes so if you have water leaks and leaks in the classroom and now you have to move students out, you’re impacting on the education of the students,” Stefanelli said.
Other work would include better ventilation, especially in the student cafeteria where Stefanelli said it could get quite hot during lunch hours in the fall and spring months. Other ventilators around the school would also be replaced. The elevator, which is the original one from when the school was built around the late 1920’s would also be replaced.
Ironically, because the building is so old, repairs throughout the years have been minimal compared to other building constructed later on because of the materials used.
“We’ve probably spent more money on our buildings that were built in the 1950’s and 1960’s because of the materials they used and the quality of the materials used then,” Stefanelli said. “This building is 80 years and still you can use it another 80 years.”
In order to keep the building in fair condition, the district needs to get the referendum passed when White Plains residents vote on October 23 anytime between noon to 9 p.m.