South Orangetown Central School District

Capital Projects

South Orangetown Central School District is working with its architecture and engineering firm, Clark Patterson Lee, to define and plan upcoming capital project work.


April 18. 2019

Starting this Friday and throughout the summer, buildings and grounds across the South Orangetown Central School District will be under construction as a number of voter-approved capital projects move ahead to address critical infrastructure needs and to renovate key spaces.

“The work occurring now and through the summer months will position the District to complete approved scopes of work to address the needs of our buildings, such as the Cottage Lane modular library. Parallel to this work, we are moving forward with a comprehensive, capital master planning process that involves identifying critical systems and building infrastructure needs and incorporates our long-term academic goals and enrollment projections,” notes Executive Director of Finance and Management Services Alicia Koster. “The advantage to this long-range planning is that it ensures that we are taking a global perspective on actively maintaining our overall building infrastructures and factoring in our future academic needs to continuously enhance student learning experiences and success in a safe and healthy environment.”

The installation of a modular library unit to replace the existing “book room” at Cottage Lane Elementary School Library will be the first project to break ground. Work is slated to begin tomorrow, April 19, and end by early July. Here’s what you should know:

  • The unit, which will be sited just west of the current playground, features a large open classroom space, handicapped-accessible bathroom and will be connected to the main school building via a covered walkway. An additional security officer will be assigned to this access point.
  • Crew work hours will be 7:00am-3:30pm, Monday through Friday, with some Saturday work possible.
  • The construction site will be secured at all times.
  • Construction is not expected to impact regular school operations. Students and staff should have full use of the playground area and parking lot throughout the construction period.

“We have been running a full research library program across two rooms and are thrilled that we’ll have a new dedicated library space for our students in September,” says Principal Karen Ramirez.

Stay tuned for “SOCSD Capital Projects in Progress” signs at CLE and other sites across the district in the coming weeks. Details regarding additional projects slated for Summer 2019 to come!

May 24, 2018

On May 24, Dr. Pritchard led a community presentation on the Tappan Zee High School Turf Field Replacement project. In May 2017, voters approved a proposition allowing the district to utilize capital reserve funds for several capital projects, including the field replacement.

Artificial turf fields typically have a lifespan of 10-12 years. Dr. Pritchard noted that the existing TZHS field, entering its 13th year, has been repaired and tested to ensure that its safe to use for another year, but must be replaced in Summer 2019.

Athletic Director Keith Johnson reported that a Turf Committee comprised of key stakeholders–community members, parents, coaches, athletic trainer, student athletes, Board members and Director of Facilities Curt Harrington–met four times this spring to identify criteria for evaluating replacement options and to meet with vendors. “We wanted to make sure that we had voices from across the community,” he said. “Safety is the number one issue.” The committee also surveyed other school districts in the county about their experiences with multipurpose turf field replacements.

Based on its research, the Turf Committee recommends that the district proceed with Shaw Sports Turf’s Geofill system. The system is comprised of three layers:

  • Top: A polyethylene “grass” mat composed of two or three fiber types. The Turf Committee recommends the three-fiber option, Spike Zone Pro 1.75, which has a thatch-like layer that keeps infill in place.
  • Middle: Infill comprised of 90% coconut and 10% natural derived plant fibers.
  • Bottom: 16mm shock pad for additional shock absorption and player protection.

This three-layer system sits on top of the existing drainage infrastructure that was installed with the original artificial turf field.

Following are questions asked by community members and answered by Dr. Pritchard, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Harrington, Athletic Trainer Jessica Lappe, Clark Patterson Lee (A/E) engineer Tim Moot, Clark Patterson Lee (A/E) architect Lauren Tarsio and/or Shaw Sports Turf representative Lee Defreitas.

What’s the timeline?
The next step is for the Board of Education to review the Turf Field Committee’s recommendations at its May 31 meeting. Once the Board indicates their support, the district’s architecture and engineering firm (A/E) will submit drawings and specifications to the New York State Education Department to receive a building permit. (NYSED review currently takes approximately 16 weeks.) After the building permit has been received, the district may advertise for bids on construction contracts. Once bids have been received, the A/E or Construction Management firm conducts bidder qualification process. Then, the A/E or Construction Management Firm makes recommendation to the school district Board of Education to award construction contracts. At that point, the Board of Education reviews recommendations and awards contracts. Finally, work will begin. The goal is to begin the turf field replacement right after the 2018-19 school year ends. The project is expected to take 4-5 weeks, including some drainage repair.

What’s the cost?
The cost of the artificial turf system with organic infill is within the budget referendum amount and the project will be eligible for $280,000 in state aid.

However, artificial turf systems that use organic infill carry a higher upfront cost than those with other infills, partly because they require a shock pad. However, the Shaw Sports Turf shock pad has a 25-year warranty and retains its shock-absorbency properties so that it can be reused for a subsequent field replacement.

The A/E has access to the National Joint Purchasing Alliance vendor pricing list, which allows them to draft bid terms that are meet the district’s needs, in terms of product quality, cost and warrant.

Annual maintenance costs are similar to existing field maintenance costs. However, additional maintenance every 3-4 years will be required to replace 10-15% of the organic infill. Grooming costs may also be dependent upon the use of two-fiber vs. three-fiber mats; the three-fiber mat, while more costly upfront, is more effective at keeping infill in place.

Is heat a concern?
Athletes are not permitted to play on fields at 96 degrees Fahrenheit or higher; the current crumb rubber field typically hits 96 degrees when the “real feel” air temperature is 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Geofill turf systems are a cooler option because of their moisture absorption, which keeps field temperature closer to air temperature.

Does the field emit an odor in hot weather?
No. Unlike rubber infill, organic infill does not emit an odor in hot weather.

What is the safety profile of polyethylene?
Mr. Defreitas noted that the polyethylene used for the mat is an inert product with strong UV stability and very little breakdown.

Are there allergy concerns?
Coconut will not trigger an allergic response in those with peanut or tree nut allergies.

Are there moisture-related health concerns?
There is no indication that organic infill harbors bacterial or fungal growth. The shock pad is “closed cell”; moisture is not absorbed, but allowed to pass through.

Was a natural field considered?
The district did not consider a natural field, as it had already made a substantial investment in drainage infrastructure when the field was originally converted to artificial turf. Relative advantages of an artificial turf field are that herbicides and pesticides are not needed for maintenance and the predictable shock absorption, which can be tested.

For additional information
Click here to directly access the link to the Shaw Sports Turf Geofill FAQ (noted at the end of Dr. Pritchard’s slide show).

May 23, 2018

Several projects are planned to break ground over the coming 15 months (through August 2019), pending both timely New York State Education Department review and favorable weather conditions. These projects include the construction of a modular library at Cottage Lane Elementary School, bleacher replacement at Tappan Zee High School, transformer and gym/cafeteria air handler unit replacement at William O. Schaefer Elementary School, remodeling of the South Orangetown Middle School technology shops and makerspace, and replacement of the Tappan Zee High School turf field.

The superintendent and Facilities/Turf Committees will hold an informational presentation for community members regarding the turf field replacement at Tappan Zee High School on May 24 at 7pm in the TZHS Library. For additional information, read Dr. Pritchard’s May 17, 2018 blog post.


What is the process for getting school district capital projects done?

STEP 1: Identify capital improvements to be made.
STEP 2: Secure voter approval for capital reserve fund expenditures to fund improvements.
STEP 3: Hire architecture and engineering (A/E) firm to review project scope and begin design.
STEP 4: Submit project drawings and specifications to the New York State Education Department to receive building permit (work may not be bid or begun until a building permit is in place).
STEP 5: District advertises for bid of construction contracts.
STEP 6: Once bids have been received, A/E or Construction Management firm conducts bidder qualification process.
STEP 7: A/E or Construction Management Firm makes recommendation to the school district Board of Education to award construction contracts.
STEP 8: Board of Education reviews recommendations and awards contracts.
STEP 9: Work begins, typically once summer recess begins to minimize disruption.

How are projects scheduled?
Work projects are grouped together by how long construction is expected to take, how long project design is expected to take, and location to maximize cost-effectiveness and minimize disruption to individual schools.