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Westchester Middle School Repairs Could Cost $11 M; February Vote Possible

Workers outside the Board of Education and District office entrance of Port Chester-Rye Union Free District on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Port Chester Middle School reopened on Nov. 6 after emergency repairs, but permanent fixes are planned.
Workers outside the Board of Education and District office entrance of Port Chester-Rye Union Free District on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Port Chester Middle School reopened on Nov. 6 after emergency repairs, but permanent fixes are planned. Photo Credit: Jon Craig
Port Chester Middle School reopened on Nov. 6 after emergency repairs. Bulldozers and temporary orange fences surrounded PCMS and the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District offices after an Oct. 26 accident.
Port Chester Middle School reopened on Nov. 6 after emergency repairs. Bulldozers and temporary orange fences surrounded PCMS and the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District offices after an Oct. 26 accident. Photo Credit: Jon Craig

Temporary repairs at Port Chester Middle School are likely to cost $1.6 million -- and permanent fixes could cost up to $11 million -- requiring a public bond vote in February due to an Oct. 26 concrete collapse as reported here by Daily Voice.

Middle school students missed six days of classes as a result of the evening accident involving  mountings to a 4,500-pound decorative panel. No one was injured.

School resumed on Nov. 6 at Port Chester Middle School. Adjoining District Offices for the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District reopened on Nov. 1.

The middle school had about 90 similar concrete panels. Renovation included installing safety bridges over entry ways, and installing jacks to support all of the remaining panels.

During public meetings on Nov. 9 and Tuesday Nov. 14, the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District's Board of Education considered options for permanent repairs, according to spokeswoman Caryn Furst.

At the Nov. 9 meeting, the school board examined four permanent reconstruction options presented by architects:

--  Remove the concrete panels, replace the windows and keep the original unit ventilators for $6.9 nillion;

-- Remove the panels, replace the windows and replace the unit ventilators for $9.6 million;

·-- Remove the panels, replace the windows and replace the unit ventilators with those with air conditioning capability for $11.2 million.

-- Remove the panels, replace the windows, replace unit ventilators and install air conditioning in the large common areas of the library and cafeteria for $10.8 million.

A fifth option was considered during the school board's Nov. 14 meeting, according to Furst. That project would include rebuilding the middle school pedestrian bridges and replacing doors.  Work might be extended to railings at Edison Elementary School as well as auditorium sound and lighting systems at Port Chester High School.

Further discussion is set for the school board's Nov. 28 meeting-- which starts at 6 p.m. in the PCMS auditorium. Permanent work may require a public bond vote in February.

The school board discussed two funding options for the PCMS reconstruction and emergency measures:

·-- Present a new capital construction bond to school district residents;

-- Or, "repurpose" the existing $80 million capital construction bond narrowly approved by 28 votes in March, as reported here by Daily Voice.

Both options require voter approval through a public referendum as early as February 2018. In the meantime, the school district is spending $30,000-a-month on equipment for the temporary fix at PCMS, Furst said.

At least 75 percent of the emergency work and about 70 percent of the cost of permanent reconstruction is expected to qualify for state building assistance.

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