HM in Motion Update

Katie Goldenberg, Staff Writer

Construction for the HM in Motion project, slated for completion by September of 2018, has seen flooding, a significant increase in funding, and various other changes since its official start for the summer on June 24th.

The construction schedule faced complications due to a flood in Rose Hall and Fisher as a result of heavy rain that overpowered the sewer system, Director of Athletics, Health, and Physical Education Robert Annunziata said.

“The flooding was a hiccup we ran into in getting everything aesthetically where we want it to be, but programmatically we’re on target,” he said.

“With the completion of the Fisher Hall Patio, the great steps, and Alumni Field, we are exactly where we need to be in order for the school year to proceed without delay or interruption,” Head of School Tom Kelly said.

The School borrowed $40,000,000 so it could pay the vendors of the project while the school waits for donors to pay their pledges to the HM in Motion Capital Campaign, Chief Financial Officer Bud Sinclair said.  The School created an estimated cash flow in order to determine how much to borrow, considering factors such as available funds, who will pledge, how much, and when money will be paid, estimates of what funds must be paid and when to the vendors, and providing a cushion in case any of the estimates or assumptions were off.  The goal was to strike a balance between flexibility and minimal cost, Sinclair said.

“Right now the pool building structure is up, although we haven’t started closing it in yet,” Director of Facilities Management Gordon Jensen said.

Recently, the first and second floors of the new science building were also poured with concrete, with electrical aspects to the building being continually added, he said.

In addition to the pool and science wing, brick and stone were added to the Prettyman vestibule, which will eventually be lined with glass and a seating area, with mechanicals such as sprinkler pipes also being added, Jensen said.

Along with exterior changes, interior construction near the girls’ locker room will eventually result in a new exit onto the field, he said.

Due to the current construction, several sports teams have faced changes in their practice facilities, Annunziata said.

“Both soccer teams were pushed down to Van Cortlandt, and the tennis team was delayed as we resurfaced the Van Cortlandt courts for their upcoming season,” he said.

However, preseason timing has stayed consistent throughout the summer construction, with sports typically practicing from 8 to 11 in the morning, Annunziata said.

“We wanted to avoid heat index conditions and real feel conditions as well as provide an opportunity in the afternoon for students to participate in other school activities,” he said.

Looking into the coming winter and spring, most sports will remain unaffected by the construction, including the swim team, which will continue to use the old pool for their upcoming season, he said.

The Middle Division tennis program, however, will continue to travel to and from the Tennis Club of Riverdale midday for practices, Annunziata said.

In addition, games and meet schedules will not see any changes, as the field is scheduled to be finished for usage by fall sports teams for their first matches, he said.

“For the future, we’re also looking to open the back staircase by Broadway so that students can drive and won’t have to walk around the perimeter of campus,” Annunziata said.

“I think the changes are very exciting, and I enjoy being involved in building something that will benefit our students,” Jensen said.