Briarcliff Schools Set To Move Ahead With Field Remediation

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The practice field at Briarcliff High School will finally undergo refurbishment this summer with the hope of opening it up for use next spring. Photo Credit: File photo

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- The Briarcliff Manor school district is ready to move ahead with remediation of the high school's practice field to remove contaminated fill.

The work will resolve issues with the field that have been going on for several years. The practice field and the softball field were built in 1998, using fill that contained construction debris.

The following year, the state Department of Environmental Conservation began inspecting the area and performing tests, and in 2002 determined that the fields were contaminated. Over the years more testing has been performed, and the field was closed. Studies were undertaken and a remediation plan was developed and approved by both the district and the state.

The project was approved in January through a community-wide bond vote, with 363 votes in favor and 42 votes against. The vote authorizes the district to move ahead with plans to refurbish the fields, as well as remove asbestos from a crawlspace underneath classrooms at Todd Elementary School.

The total cost of the bond is $2.275 million. According to Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattley, approximately $1.5 million of that will be coming from bonds, while $750,000 will be coming from a reserve fund set up in 2010 to pay for the remediation of the softball field and practice field.

The Board of Education could have budgeted for the remediation, but Mattley said that would have a bigger impact on the tax levy than issuing bond, which will be paid back over a period of 10 years. Mattley said that the district has possibly identified local sources of soil that would be available at low costs or even free, which could reduce the overall cost of the project.

The work on the practice field is expected to begin at the end of June when classes end. The district will also be acquiring 1.82 acres of adjacent property owned by the Department of Transportation.The asbestos work at Todd Elementary will be started and completed in July.

The district received some complaints that the vote was held the day of a snowstorm, when schools had been canceled the night before. According to David Shaw, the school district's counsel, rescheduling the vote would have involved calling a special meeting of the Board of Education and posting new notice of a rescheduled community vote.

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