BRONXVILLE, N.Y. The tables and chairs gleamed on the spotless clean floor Tuesday afternoon in the Bronxville School cafeteria.
The room has been pumped out, scrubbed and disinfected. Even the air was tested and deemed free from mold and other bad particles.
Students from grades one through 12 will be able to use the cafeteria when they return to school on Wednesday at 10 a.m. but other parts of the building will remain closed.
Workers said that Hurricane Irene left behind flood waters on the first level that were between three and six feet deep. The kitchen, located at the back of the cafeteria on the first level of the school building, was completely destroyed and will remain closed. Also closed is the large gym where the entire wood floor could not be saved thanks to the flooding
We have no timetable on when they will be open, said Dr. John Kehoe.
Kehoe said other than the cafeteria, the first level of the building, which includes about 20 classrooms, will remain closed.
We will have the use of some parts of the lower level on September 12, and the use of all of the classrooms by September 19, Kehoe said on Tuesday.
Kindergarten children will not start school until the 19th, Kehoe said.
Although the district is trying to get the school building completely up and running as quickly as possible, they are proceeding with extreme caution.
We are making good progress with the clean-up but we are making sure that the affected areas are safe for the kids before we open them back up, Kehoe said.
In addition to cleaning up on the inside, dumpsters filled with debris were taken off the property and the air quality throughout the building was tested for safety.
Schools Superintendent David Quattrone released a letter to parents on Tuesday stating that lessons learned from the last flood caused by a Noreaster in 2007 have made the recovery process easier. After that flood, Quattrone said the boiler room, the music room and district offices were moved out of the lower level. Sheet rock walls were replaced with tile walls, and air vents were moved from floor to ceiling. Despite these measures, the estimated cost of the clean-up will be around $5 million, but most of those costs will be covered by insurance.
Quattrone and the Bronxville Board of Education agreed last week that the district will make every attempt to learn from this flood, the second in four years.
We have assembled a team of architects, industrial hygienists, construction/recovery specialists, and insurance specialists to guide us in the reconstruction process. We have included the fire and police departments and other village officials in our planning. We are doing everything we can to ensure the building is safe and healthy for all occupants, Quattrone said in a letter to parents posted on the district website. Most of all, we look forward to a productive school year.
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