Fifteen years in the making: GISNY breaks ground!
November 14, 2017
Our school may be celebrating the opening of the new cafeteria and upper school building by the end of this school year. But what may surprise many people, is that this project has been in the planning stages for about 15 years!
It all started in the early 2000s, when the school had only about 300 students, said Mr. Edward Schlieben, the school’s administrator. The City of White Plains had put a limit of 375 students due to the neighbors’ concerns about traffic. After purchasing some land (what some might remember as the forest, where we spotted many animals, even deer!) next to the school about fifteen years ago, GISNY was able to get permission, four years ago, to grow to 500 students.
“This took many years of negotiating with the City of White Plains,” Mr. Schlieben explained to The Lens last month. Because GISNY is not allowed to expand outward, he said, the school came up with the idea of excavating downward and making the old gym three stories.
The German government said it would pay for half of the project if GISNY covers the other half. The funds will come from money the school saved, and another part may be coveredby a bank loan. Mr. Schlieben says he hopes the project will cost no more than $9 million in total.
“When this is finished, hopefully by end of the school year, we will find that we have more classrooms,” Mr. Schlieben said. The administration will move to the second floor of the new building, and there will be a new library, music room and upper school (11th and 12th grade) lounge.
The construction company running the project is called Signature Construction. It was chosen after the school looked at ten proposals.
“Signature worked very, very hard this summer so that the lunchroom would be ready when school started,” Mr. Schlieben said. Some problems, such as building alignment, came up, and Signature was able to find a solution. But these problems were minor, thanks to Signature’s strict safety policy and good planning.
Ten to twenty workers from private contractors are at the site right now, says Ian Moss, the site supervisor from Signature. There could be as many as 50 in future months.
The GISNY project is a relatively small one for Mr. Moss, who helps supervise sites with as many as 200 workers. Mr. Moss says that he is very pleased to work here at a school, as he knows he is doing it for the good of our community.