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Mamaroneck French-American School Needs More Room

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- The French-American School of New York needs more space in the short term for its upperclassmen and has enlisted the help of the Mamaroneck village board.

The upper school, at 145 New St. in Mamaroneck, hopes to use the French-American School's administrative offices at 525 Fenimore Road for classrooms for its 11th- and 12th-graders, said Patrick Croze, director of finance and operations for the French-American School .

"We have a cap of 380 students, and we have increasing student enrollment, so we need additional space," Croze said of the upper school. "That would be a temporary accommodation -- probably for three years -- because after that we hope that we will be able to move everybody to our new campus in White Plains at Ridgeway Country Club."

The private school purchased the 129-acre Ridgeway property in January 2011 for $11 million to bring all 870 studens from its three schools in Mamaroneck, Larchmont and Scarsdale to one campus. The school applied for a permit to operate a school and hopes it will be approved by the end of this year. If that happens, the school would begin the 10-year, $60 million-to-$80 million construction of its new campus and, Croze said, begin phasing in its older students in September 2014 at the earliest.

In the meantime, it still needs more space. However, the administrative offices in Mamaroneck are in the M-1 zoning district, or the industrial district off Waverly Avenue, which isn't zoned for use by a school.

As a result, the school has asked the village board to allow a private school in that zoning district.

"This would just allow that type of use in that district," said Dan Sarnoff, assistant village manager.

At its March 12 meeting, the village board declared itself the lead agency on the environmental review, which means it would determine if the change would have an adverse effect on the village.

The board has referred the matter to the Planning Board, which will recommend that the village board either allow it or not. If the planners recommend to allow it, the village board would have a public hearing on the proposal. If it approves, the school could then request a special permit from the Planning Board.

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