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Chappaqua Schools React to "Unsatisfactory" Rating

CHAPPAQUA N.Y. - Five buildings across four Chappaqua schools have been deemed "unsatisfactory," according to a report done by an independent building inspector. New York State requires school districts to hire inspectors to conduct a Building Condition Survey every five years to formulate a 5-year plan and correct any deficiencies.

On Tuesday, John Chow, assistant superintendent for business, and Joe Gramando, director of facilities, operations and maintenance, responded to the "unsatisfactory" ratings handed down to their buildings.

"Overall, our buildings are in excellent condition but there are a few improvements we need to make," said Chow and Gramando in a joint letter. According to the letter, the district hired KG&D Architects in Mount Kisco to conduct the survey on its 11 instruction buildings, which was completed in August of 2010.

New York State has 80 designated inspection criteria in 13 categories, the letter said. All that is necessary for an overall "unsatisfactory" rating is for the building to not meet one of the criterions.

The findings showed that Horace Greeley High School received six unsatisfactory ratings, Greeley Gym A received one, Westorchard Elementary School received one, Douglas G. Grafflin Elementary School received one, and the Robert E. Bell Middle School Temporary Building received seven.

"In the five buildings, it was determined that certain equipment had reached the end of its expected useful life (even though the equipment is still operating in a safe manner) but an overall building rating of 'unsatisfactory' was given," read the letter.

The equipment beyond its expected useful life includes the public address system at Westorchard, water distribution piping at Grafflin, and HVAC systems, windows and two roof sections at Greeley. The ratings do not apply to the Bell building as it is no longer used by students and staff. It is now only used as a storage area.

"The high school roof sections are scheduled to be repaired/replaced beginning in the 2012-13 school year," read Chow and Gramando's letter. "In addition, Chappaqua recently entered into an energy performance contract that will address all of the items listed as unsatisfactory. This will enable the district to, among other things, update or replace HVAC and other equipment that has passed its expected useful life with newer, more efficient technologies. At the same time these improvements will result in higher-quality systems, fewer breakdowns and reduced maintenance costs."

Chow and Gramando also said the P.A. system at Westorchard is still operational and that the district is looking into Voice over Internet Protocol to replace the systems throughout the district. They also said that piping is handled by the maintenance staff and will be replaced when deemed necessary.

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