Upgrades Include Revamp of Hommocks Air Distribution System; New Roofing & Blacktopping at Several Schools
Preserving and improving the infrastructure of Mamaroneck Schools’ facilities was a top priority for the district this summer, as staff worked around the clock to ensure that building renovations as a result of the bond approved by voters in May, 2009 were completed in time for the opening of school next Tuesday, September 7.
September 7 Board Study Session Will Include Tour of Renovations
“We’re extremely pleased that our dedicated staff was able to complete about six months worth of work into a nine-week period over the summer to ensure that our newest middle-schoolers — our incoming sixth grade class — will be welcomed to school as scheduled on Tuesday,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Shaps, who will use the September 7 Board Study Session as an opportunity to tour the facilities along with the Board of Education and any interested community members. “The upgrades will enhance the learning environment for our children and be instrumental in helping to accomplish the district’s goals of becoming more energy efficient and saving taxpayer dollars.”
Dr. Shaps explained that the magnitude of the project was greater than anyone expected, but in the end, when the job is completed in the summer of 2011, the district anticipates the new heating and ventilation system as well as the new windows (half of which have been installed to date, and the other half of which will be in by Thanksgiving) to yield an estimated 15-20% annual energy savings at the Hommocks.
Replacing the central air distribution system in the North and South wings at Hommocks required a near gutting of the middle school — demolishing and removing all of the ceilings and old equipment, including piping and ductwork, and installing new equipment. (In some cases, it was necessary to relocate existing facilities to make room for the new ductwork.) The new system includes about 11 smaller boilers known as “condensing boilers” that run the heat for the perimeter of the building, plus nine roof top heating and ventilation units that needed to be lifted to the roof via crane. Each of them weigh about 2,500 pounds.
“By eliminating the unit ventilators in each classroom and replacing them with rooftop units, the air will now be distributed more uniformly, and this will decrease the amount of noise in the classroom,” Dr. Shaps added. He said the contractors elected to work on weekends and extended day shifts to keep up with the pace of the project and that the district worked closely with the town to be able to obtain special permission to make extension of the work days possible. “We are grateful to the town for its assistance in supporting our rush to get the job done in time for the start of school.”
With the improvements, the North and South wings’ systems will be self-sufficient, meaning that if one system failed to operate, the other would not be affected. Previously, two large boilers, which were well past their economical and mechanical efficiencies, fed the entire building. Now, all of the educational spaces will be served by the new system, and the old boilers will be used to feed only the common areas until next summer, when the same work accomplished this summer will be initiated in the common areas and gyms.
In addition to installing new ductwork and piping, this summer’s renovations included new electrical wiring, plumbing, window pockets and ceilings, new bookshelves, lighting and new corridor smoke doors. Portions of new roofing also were put in at the high school and at Chatsworth Avenue School. Beyond the bond work, the district blacktopped at Hommocks, Central, Mamaroneck High School and Mamaroneck Avenue School (through PTA donations) to make playground and other school surfaces safer.
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“We feel great about the work we did this summer to improve the overall conditions of our schools,” said Meryl Rubinstein, assistant superintendent of business operations. “The buildings look fabulous; they’re clean and ready for the start of school.”