After extensive deliberation, the Board of Education of the Pelham Schools has determined that constructing a new elementary school is the best path forward to address the short and long-term needs of Hutchinson School and will move forward with that option in a bond proposal planned for spring 2018.
Over the course of the past several months, the Board has been studying how to best meet the needs of the aging building, which minimally required a complete replacement of the brick façade and other updates.
“Through this process, the Board has thoroughly examined the many needs at Hutchinson School and weighed how best to address them,” said Board of Education President Madeline Smith. “Further, we looked at this process through the lens of providing the best stewardship for the District’s resources, addressing our capacity issues, providing safety for our students and, most importantly, supporting our educational program.
“While this is certainly not a decision to be taken lightly, it has become clear that building a new Hutchinson School best addresses our needs, is the most cost-effective solution and that the new building will be an asset not just for the Hutchinson community, but for our residents across the entire District,” she added. “We are extremely thankful and appreciative of the community members who have been engaged in this process and provided the Board with a wealth of valuable feedback and look forward to continuing this conversation in the coming weeks.”
To guide the decision-making process, the Board drilled down on a set of nine criteria and weighted them based on their importance to the decision. The Board then scored a total of seven building extension/renovation options and the new school option based on which concept best met the criteria. The new school was the highest rated in eight of the nine categories and the final scoring of the options pointed toward a new school.
“The Board has worked diligently over the past several months to gain a full understanding of the needs at Hutchinson and the District as a whole,” said Superintendent Dr. Cheryl H. Champ. “This decision allows the District and Board to move ahead in crafting a bond proposal that will improve the quality of education across the entire community and continue to offer a robust 21st Century Learning curriculum for our students District-wide.”
Over the next several weeks, the Board will work with architectural consultants KG&D to determine the specific location and features for the proposed new school and navigate the regulatory compliance process, including scheduling of the referendum and the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).
More details and information about the proposed bond are available at www.pelhamschools.org/hutchinson_school_facade.
Photo credit: Deborah Karson