The Windward School is looking to move several of its grades to the building that currently houses the national headquarters of the March of Dimes at 1275 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains.
The private school serving special needs youngsters needs site plan and special permit approvals from the city to make the switch.
Mark Weingarten, an attorney representing the Windward School, told the Common Council during last week’s public hearing the school hopes to relocate students in grades 1-5, most of whom are at 13 Windward Ave. The March of Dimes will be vacating the Mamaroneck Avenue premises in July.
“Windward enjoys a national reputation for excellence. It is indeed a very special place,” Weingarten said. “It educates children in grades 1-9 who have language-based learning disabilities and dyslexia.”
Weingarten said the school’s other campus is at 40 W. Red Oak Lane in West Harrison. The lower school on Windward Avenue houses grades 1-4, he said. Grades 5-9 are currently located at the West Harrison location.
Weingarten said the school is proposing to group the fifth grade with grades 1-4 and relocate operations to the March of Dimes building. The move would provide additional space at the West Red Oak Lane facility for grades 6-9, he said.
“Windward is a victim of its own success,” Weingarten said. “It is maxed out at both campuses leaving too many children unable to take advantage of the very special services that are offered by the school.”
According to the proposal, enrollment in grades 1-5 would be 350 students. There would also be 110 faculty members at the Mamaroneck Avenue location. The current March of Dimes building is a three-story, 113,000-square-foot building, Weingarten noted.
Andrew Tung, a partner with Divney Tung Schwalbe, LLP, told the Common Council that the March of Dimes building “would lend itself well” to the school’s classroom and office needs. The school also hopes to build a gym at the southeast corner of the building and a multipurpose playing field. The field would be located to the south of the proposed gym, Tung said.
The nearest bus stop is at the bottom of the stairway connected to the building and no students currently use the Bee-Line bus system to commute, he said. The Windward School does not anticipate any students taking a Bee Line bus to classes once it moves to the March of Dimes building.
Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona asked if the school was considering placing solar panels on the roof of the building. Tung responded that solar panels have been explored.
“They were not found to be cost-effective for the school in terms of the time it would take to pay that back against the investment that would be required,” he said.
No residents addressed the Common Council during the hearing. The hearing was closed by unanimous vote.
Council members gave no date when the proposal may be discussed again.