The newly-renovated and expanded Greenacres School
A ribbon cutting was held on Friday, January 22, 2021 for the newly- renovated and expanded Greenacres Elementary School in Scarsdale.
Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Pamela Fuehrer
Board President Ms. Pamela Fuehrer shared the following remarks:
"Welcome everyone, it is wonderful that today we get to celebrate this beautiful building and also the successful community-wide process which brought it to fruition. This is a perfect complement to this week’s national theme of Unity and also a great example of how listening and understanding the needs and desires of students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents and community members matters, and helps to provide a compass that guides the board and the District to realize best practices and wonderful accomplishments.
For over three years, there was significant study, evaluation, and discussion related to the Greenacres proposals to expand and renovate, or to build new. From the Greenacres school community, we learned of their interest in more flexible classrooms, and in spaces which would maximize creative learning opportunities in support of optimal teaching and learning, and student growth. We learned of the need to improve and connect the library and maker space, and also to spatially align the provision of therapeutic services, and also our specials.
Our Facilities Department and the buildings and grounds team, together with the faculty and staff, identified engineering systems and site work requirements, air quality and health concerns and safety and security needs. Many of the key components of this work were recommended by the multistakeholder Greenacres Building Committee. The short- and long- term financial impacts of the options were also an important part of the discourse, as were the diverse perspectives on safety and spaces shared by hundreds of school and community participants.
The result of all that listening, discussing and collaborating within the full community was a bond proposal that met with solid approval. As Scarsdale came together in support of the needed addition and renovation to Scarsdale's oldest elementary school building. So on behalf of the Board, thank you to BBS Architects and Engineers, to Park East Construction. Members of previous boards and to all those who took the time to participate and share their thoughts along the way as the Boards identified the best path to meet school based and community needs and support of our students, you helped bring us to this day and make an extraordinary school system even better. Thank you so much."
Degrees and Certifications:
Dr. Thomas Hagerman
"Thank you Pam. Those were beautiful words. Good morning and welcome everyone. Really appreciate you all being here on this frosty morning today. Like Pam, I'd like to thank you all for joining us in this celebration of Greenacres School. I'd also like to thank our esteemed building administration Sharon Hill and Sharon De Lorenzo for helping to organize this special event, so that the larger Scarsdale community could see the manifestation of years of hard work. I'd also like to recognize some other important folks who were highly instrumental in this process. Of course we have our current board here, kind of scattered throughout the crowd this morning, showing their support including board President Pam Fuehrer and Vice President Alison Tepper- Singer. Thank you all for being here.
I would also like to acknowledge past board members involved in this work- as there have been three different boards over the last many years- and particularly our past Board presidents, including Lee Maude, Bill Natbony and Scott Silberfein who were also very instrumental in this work. We also have to acknowledge an offer thanks to our district administration. I'd like to acknowledge Stuart Mattey, Assistant Superintendent, and other district leadership from our facilities and grounds department. In fact, we have Mike Patera here this morning representing that department. And although we have many to thank, I'd be remiss if I also did not acknowledge our recently retired John Trenholm who shepherded this work in from the very beginning. Collectively, these individuals took the lead on this project, starting back as far as 2015, and saw it through to the very end.
In 2017, our local team was joined by BBS. Our new architectural firm, Kevin and Ken, are here with us today to help celebrate. We also have Gary and Francesco from Park East Construction who worked with our construction management team. I'd like to take both of these partners for helping us to create this incredible space and making this dream come true for all of us. Also gathered here today are teachers, students, cabinet members, PTA representatives and others who have played an instrumental role in this beautiful renovation and expansion of Greenacres School. Together, we celebrate this accomplishment in its own right, but we also recognize it as a much larger part of the capital endeavour, one which was developed and implemented projects that benefited our schools, as well as improved programs and services across the district for all of our students. Scarsdale's vision for education, that guided this work, a Scarsdale education for tomorrow, is rooted in the district's long-standing instructional focus on the whole child, progressive practice, a love of learning, and critical and creative thinking to name a few of the major elements. More recently, it has evolved to include personalized learning and collaborative efforts, technology- infused classrooms and design thinking and making.
The newly-unveiled Greenacres School that we're standing in front of today, was conceived and designed as a place to realize and further build upon these aspirations, as well as provide our students and teachers with the physical environment that would inspire and ignite learning and collaboration in all its many forms. Along with the support of our educational vision, this particular project also incorporated district initiatives around flexible spaces, innovation play, the arts, wellness and nutrition. These are prominently featured in our new light-filled and beautifully- designed classroom spaces, Library, Learning Commons, Cafeteria, Technology Lab, Makerspace, our whimsical stairwells and much, much more. With all there is to admire. I am most grateful for this incredible gift that is to our students. This renovation and expansion will not only provide an incredible learning environment for generations of students, but it will also serve as a reminder to the entire community of our deep and enduring commitment to the children of this community.
In closing, I'd like to personally thank everyone who made this dream possible. I've already acknowledged many and perhaps miss many as well, but I do have to offer a heartfelt thank you to the teachers and administrators that I personally have the privilege of working with to finalize each and every detail of this project. This core group demonstrated commitment beyond measure and really deserve our collective gratitude for this truly spectacular finished product. There is no other way to say it, except you made this happen and we can't thank you enough. "
Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Sharon Hill
"Good morning everyone. I would like to first acknowledge our faculty, our staff and our students who are viewing this by livestream this morning. When we first envisioned this, we pictured them being here live, but that's not certainly not possible this morning due to Covid restrictions.
This is a proud moment not only for Greenacres, but for the community of Scarsdale, which voted yes to the bond three years ago. Life at Greenacres has been changed forever. After dreaming and deliberating, and after a year and a half of renovations and construction, we are now able to enjoy the functional and flexible spaces of our classrooms, our multi-purpose spaces, our library, our technology lab, and our ADA accessible playground.
Adding to its original charm and character, we now walk the hallways of a beautiful and spacious building with neutral colors and lighting that resonate a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere.
Our Assistant principal Mrs. De Lorenzo, the faculty and staff, and I would like to thank the many people who made this possible. First, to our Board of Education- past and present- who took the time to tour our building from the basement to the second floor, to try to understand how space limitations impacted daily instruction here at Greenacres.
Thanks to Dr. Hagerman, who along with Stuart Mattey, ushered us through the passing of the bond, and whose vision, keen eye, and sharp instincts for design guided us along the way. Stuart, thank you for overseeing the project with fiscal responsibility and for also leaning in to ensure our needs were fulfilled. Thanks to other members of the cabinet for their support and especially to Jerry Crisci for envisioning our technology needs and to Eric Rauschenbach who played an important role in considering our students and their special needs.
Thanks to our valiant PTA leaders-also past and present- who stood side by side with us through the process, and the Greenacres Association, The Scarsdale Village personnel, as well as the Scarsdale Police Department, who played an important role as they partnered with us through this journey. Thanks to John Trenholm who is now retired, Mike Patera in our facilities department and the Greenacres custodial staff, led by German Garcia for all the heavy lifting they did. To BBS Architects, Kevin Walsh and Ken Schupner, Tracy Hanson and the rest of the BBS team. Thank you for listening and for working with us to balance design with need. To Francesco Borgese and the Park East Team, thank you for being responsive, and for making sure that students were safe, and that learning was not impacted or interrupted during the day-to-day construction.
Last but not least, to our amazing teachers. We thank you for participating in hours and hours of planning to make sure our decisions were consistent with the practical needs of everyday teaching and learning. Thank you for your patience and for enduring through packing and unpacking and sometimes packing and unpacking again. Our construction project was a necessity, but during the pandemic it was that additional square footage that became invaluable and allowed us to make the necessary accommodations for in-person instruction and the transition for K-2 students to a full day of learning. Together we dreamed of what could be possible and here we are today celebrating the magnificence of Greenacres and the beautiful space our teachers and students are proud to come to every day. For this, we are forever grateful. Thank you."
Degrees and Certifications:
Ms. Joan Farella
"I've had the absolute pleasure of working here at Greenacres for 33 years. During that time I have been part of many construction committees, and I've seen many renovations done to our school. This new addition, of course, was the largest. Throughout each and every meeting, all the teachers involved- and there were many- worked hard with other committee members to make this school truly our work home.
I asked the 4th and 5th grade teachers what they thought. Here are just a few of their comments: “The classrooms are an absolute pleasure to work in each day. They are big, they are beautiful. They provide plenty of space and storage and meet all of our learning needs. There is ample cabinetry, bookcases to support our extensive classroom libraries and the new furniture is absolutely amazing. The new furniture is flexible, allowing us to modify our room assignments. The hallways are bright, the lockers are beautiful, and the restrooms for both students and staff are very welcome.”
We couldn't be happier. So although we're cutting a ribbon today to welcome our new edition, let us celebrate the joining of both the old and the new in a unified Greenacres school is what we've always been. On behalf of all the teachers that truly make this school at home, we thank the community, the administration, all the workmen, and all administrators, for their support and hard work in making this absolutely beautiful building possible. Thank you. "
Degrees and Certifications:
"Our learning at Green Acres has been impacted this year by Covid in a pretty big way. We can’t all attend school full time and our cohorts are made up of eight to ten kids. The good news is that we get to go into school in a brand new building with lots of space, rather than just learning remotely. What I love about coming into this new building is we have more space. Our new classroom are spacious and the new furniture is amazing. We have new bookcases, desks, bins, tables, windows and a whole new wing. We also have the privilege of new books and have new spaces like the Learning Commons to do our science projects. When we are back to normal we will have a new cafeteria and so much more."
Degrees and Certifications:
"I love the new fifth grade wing and the added renovations to the school. Everything is gorgeous!
When we first looked at what the school is going to look like I could’ve never imagined it to look so beautiful. Personally I have loved learning in this new fifth grade wing because before we came back to school, learning was hard in my room. Now we have her own desk, comfy chairs to learn in, spinning chairs and a beautiful new school. Every day coming to school I am excited to be in a fun learning environment. I love having big classrooms and big whiteboards. I love seeing teachers every day at the door and going up the big beautiful stairs. This fifth grade year I’m looking forward to being able to use the new cafeteria, the new library, the new computer lab and the new maker space. I love the new school and I know you will too."
Degrees and Certifications:
"The renovations have positively impacted my learning or learning has become easier due to the fact we have our own desks instead of sharing tables with other students. This gives myself and other students a sense of security and privacy we want for learning. The tables have the ability to roll, allowing us to move expediently to other students, such as studying partners. This makes learning more efficient, but it's clear the renovations have impacted my learning in a positive way.
The hallways of the building are much cleaner than the other building. Their architecture is amazing, the hallways are lit to create an opulent and happy atmosphere, This is what Greenacres and we students are. I've been enjoying how there's a beautiful new building that is cleaner and brighter than ever before. The classrooms are more spacious and have socially distance tables, which is required to impede the persistent coronavirus. I think the renovations represent that we, the students of Greenacres Elementary School, are an optimistic, clean and hardworking community. Years from now, students will come to Greenacres Elementary and see the year 2020 carved into the building. 2020 was a year of hardship and a year of hope and endurance. Most importantly, hard work has allowed us to greatly appreciate the new Greenacres."
The expansion and major renovation of Greenacres Elementary School is the result of countless hours of work invested by the Board of Education, administrators, faculty, parents and community members who served on various committees related to the project over the past six years. The fruit of their labor is evident in the bright hallways, larger and more flexible classroom spaces and improved learning environment for all students.
The project includes eight new classrooms for fourth and fifth grades. There is also a beautiful new Learning Commons and Multipurpose Room. Originally designed to be flexible and highly- configurable spaces, the Learning Commons and Multipurpose Room have both been adapted for use as socially-distant Kindergarten classroom spaces since November.
The renovation also allowed for the school to be completely reconfigured into a more effective and organized learning environment. Now, services like occupational, physical and speech therapy have dedicated spaces, each in the same hallway together. Art and music classrooms have also been moved so like classes are together.
Perhaps the crowning jewel of the project is the new Library. The new bright and airy space is whimsical and inviting. It’s also closely integrated with a new Maker Space and thea renovated and upgraded Computer Lab.
The school was also renovated for ADA compliance, including repairing doors for greater accessibility. An accessible ramp was also constructed to enable students of all abilities to access the upper playground, which was also outfitted with new and accessible equipment.
The renovation and expansion also addressed many of the issues one would expect to find in Scarsdale’s oldest school. The project included new heating boilers and burners, new classroom ventilation system, replacement of old roofing which had exceeded life expectancy, and fire/security upgrades. Upgrades were also performed on the building’s fire alarm and electrical systems. Drainage improvements and relocation of drinking fountains were also performed.
“The new school is absolutely beautiful and is a testament to the dedication of the Scarsdale community to its schools and its children,” Superintendent Dr. Thomas Hagerman said. “We are thrilled with the new building and how well it is already performing.”
Greenacres Principal Sharon Hill echoed Dr. Hagerman’s sentiments.
“It’s not just a new building, it’s a functional building, “ Ms. Hill said. “It makes such a difference to our children to have services all together, to have their classes in the same area. We are grateful.”