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Y or kt ow n C e n t r al S ch ool D ist r ict

2725 Crompond Road


Yorktown Heights, New York 10598-3129

Telephone: (914) 243-8000 Fax: (914) 245-5566





A Statement Concerning the Farmhouse Date: July 21, 2011 For Immediate Release From Jackie Carbone, President After careful consideration, the Yorktown Board of Education has awarded a bid to abate and demolish the farmhouse that sits at the entrance to the Yorktown High School campus. This work is part of the $37 million capital bond project approved by the voters in 2006. Prior to the bond being presented for a public vote, extensive analysis and work was done for a number of years, including SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) compliance which included notification to and approval from SHPO (State Department of Historic Preservation) and public meetings where the information was presented along with alternatives. The Facilities Committee ultimately recommended the demolition of the building. This committee was comprised of district staff, board members, the construction manager, architect and several community members. All of this work preceded the approval by the Board of the proposition to place before the voters. It has been asked if alternatives have been looked at since the voters approved the bond. The answer is yes. Over the past five years we have entertained numerous groups including: Hudson Valley Lacrosse, who found it too cost prohibitive to consider for a museum and a local realtor/appraiser who wanted to see if it could be moved to another location in his expert opinion not enough was salvageable to make it worthwhile to move (much of the structure was reconstructed early in the 1900s). Our engineers have said it isnt structurally stable enough to move. The Yorktown Chamber of Commerce looked into possible use of the building, they also found it too cost prohibitive. The Town Clerk visited as well and she brought along an historical architect who after examining the building also determined that there was little left to save and not much of historical significance. As for our using it for students, it is against state law to put students in a wood-framed building. We as a district have no need for the space. People have spoken about getting volunteers to fix up the building and donations of some materials and supplies. But under NYS law all work done on our campus (that we expend even one penny on) must follow the general municipal law, labor law and the Commissioners Regulations. This includes paying prevailing wages and following the Wicks law. It is compliance with these requirements that make this project prohibitive.

The farmhouse has been rebuilt over the years. Much of what is inside is not original to the building. The roof and the rafters have been changed at some point during the 20th century as they are not hand hewn beams, rather milled lumber. The fireplaces are just false fronts leading to neither a firebox nor chimney. A utilitarian bathroom (circa 1960s) was installed; walls were paneled with imitation wood paneling. Floors have been rotting away for many years; some have been covered in asbestos tile. The outside of the building is sheathed in aluminum siding. Rooms have been divided, closets built, sheetrock covers much of the walls. A boiler was added to provide heating. When much of this renovation work was done, there were few regulations or knowledge about hazardous waste. Asbestos was used as insulation and in floor tile as well as in joint compound, lead was used in paint. This has left this building with serious environmental hazards that by law must be abated, whether the building is torn down or renovated. The abatement cost alone is greater than originally estimated, it exceeds $150,000. We have been accused of not meeting with groups interested in preserving the building. That is untrue; many people have been allowed to go through the building. In June the town asked us to meet one more time with this group, a representative came to our Board of Education meeting, he was allowed the opportunity to speak and we responded. He thanked us for our time and said he understood and acknowledged that we had done our due diligence. Why not sell it for one dollar, along with parking and some land. There are many reasons, ownership can be ceded only by a public referendum even for a dollar, and we cannot give it away. To allow outside use on our campus during the school day creates concern for the security and safety of our 3,000 students on the campus. Plainly the building cannot be used during school hours. There is insufficient infrastructure of the main road for a new turnoff into the building. During the week of July 11, the media alerted administration that there was going to be a protest at the building Thursday at 2:30pm. We contacted the police for safety and security reasons. The 6 or 7 people that showed up were under the impression that they could access to our building and meet with the district. There was never a meeting scheduled nor were they ever granted permission to go through the building. Last, Is this what the Strang and Purdys families would have wanted? I do not know the Strang or Purdys families, but I would assume that they would want their legacy to be for the good they did and to be remembered in the minds and hearts of the citizens, not in the materialistic possessions they may have once owned. They sold their land and buildings in the first half of the 20th century. I would assume as most homeowners do when they sell their house they relinquish the right to determine what happens to it after. Would Mildred Strang want us to ask the community to give us endless amounts of money to fix up a building that cannot be used for educational space, rather than use those funds to retain staff and program that effect our students. The Board of Education truly appreciates the cooperation and concern of the community as we have looked at alternatives over the past five plus years, and firmly believe that this decision is in the best interests of the community, given our responsibility to consider the safety and finances of the district for the long-term.

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