Officials at the are calling the overall flood mitigation efforts put in place after the Spring of 2007 Nor’easter and before Hurricane Irene “successful,” although extensive cleanup, restoration and inspection efforts are still ongoing to repair the damages caused by last weekend’s storm.
A proposed timeline for the rest of the reparation efforts as well as when the school could open up to students are expected to be announced at tonight’s Board of Education meeting at Village Hall, beginning at 6:00 p.m. To expedite repair work, the Board is said to be considering adopting a resolution declaring emergency status, an approach used in 2007 as a way of supporting the District’s capacity for rapid response and flexibility.
On Wednesday, 110 workers were on site to assist with removal of wet materials, drying and cleaning furniture and equipment. The school conducted a second industrial hygiene inspection, in an attempt to find any moisture that had seeped behind the school walls. The findings were reviewed by a comprehensive team of professionals assigned to the restoration project, including school officials, architects, industrial hygienists, insurance representatives and disaster recovery specialists.
Assistant Superintendent of Schools John Kehoe says precautionary measures put in place after the 2007 flooding episode – including the installation of tiled floors and walls and the use of cement board – went a long way in minimizing damages and avoiding what could have been another complete disaster.
“What we’ve discovered in this event is that the mitigation approach that was done after the 2007 event has really helped us tremendously in being able to recover quicker and preserve assets and our building, even though we’re still in the same location,” he said.”
In 2007, both the school’s electrical circuit and boiler were completely washed away, Kehoe said. This time, and after being relocated to the second floor, they were untouched. That being said, restoration efforts are said to be far from over, and are expected to continue well into the school year. According to a message released by the school Wednesday, in-depth inspections of the building:
identified numerous instances of wet insulation that will have to be removed. Although the tile walls will remain intact, this will entail cutting holes in certain walls, removing the material, drying, sanitizing, patching, and painting. This work will extend beyond the scheduled start of the school year, and we are making plans that chart the best course for maximizing instructional time, managing costs, and ensuring that the School is dry, clean, and safe. We want to minimize disruption but also ensure that the decisions made in urgent circumstances make sense in the long run. Student health and safety are paramount.
As far as where funding will come from for the school’s restoration, Kehoe says multiple insurance carriers “have been notified” and will be involved, including FEMA and a number of private carriers employed by the school district.
“As of right now, there has been no application to federal funds beyond the normal insurance policies we have,” Kehoe said. “That doesn’t mean we won’t go down that path, but we’re still in the early stages of the insurance process.”
Check back with Bronxville-Eastchester Patch tomorrow morning for a recap of tonight’s Bronxville School Board meeting and an update on the school’s opening.