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Greenburgh Weighs Hackley’s Application for New Campus

| by Robert Kimmel | 

Members of Greenburgh’s Planning Board made an on-site inspection visit late last month to learn more about Hackley School’s application to build a 116,725-square-foot Health & Wellness Center on its 285-acre campus. The location is near its existing sports fields in the town and adjacent to its Tarrytown campus. The structure, in an unincorporated area of Greenburgh, will need the approval of the Town Board, as the lead agency, and the Planning Board. The envisioned building would include two gymnasiums, a swimming pool, eight squash courts, a wrestling room, a fencing room, and an indoor track.

The notice of the visit indicated that a portion of the building’s site is on “excessively steep slopes,” and that it would also involve wetland, and “… the removal of 493 regulated trees from the property as part of the project, requiring a tree removal permit from the Town Forestry Officer.” It apparently will also require “the creation of new storm water management basins.”

Hackley Headmaster Walter Johnson characterized the structure as “… a next step in our master plan that we have had since 1999.” A recent letter to Johnson from Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner asked, “…if Hackley would be receptive to allowing residents who live nearby to have access to your center during non-school hours.” Feiner stated that, “Solomon Schechter and other schools in Greenburgh have made their facilities available to the community on a limited basis. If you would consider this request, there would be even more community excitement about your new additions.”

In response to that letter, Johnson wrote that, “Hackley is deeply committed to serving Greenburgh, Tarrytown, and our surrounding towns.” He noted that, “In addition to the many students who attend from these towns, many are supported by over $4 million in financial aid awarded by Hackley, made possible by the generosity of parents and alumni. Hackley makes its facilities available to over 280 local residents through our “Friends of Hackley” program, which asks only that for their own and our students’ security such FOH applicants register with Hackley, wear an FOH identity card, and agree to Hackley’s terms of use,” the Headmaster wrote.

The Friends of Hackley, Johnson added, are “… frequently invited to Hackley athletic events and arts activities, and we host several special events for them each year.” His response also noted that “We have always been willing to support area not-for-profits facing short-term facility needs, such as the Tarrytown Public Schools last spring, to whom we offered our facilities for their graduation when their fields were under construction. Hackley has also offered preferred access for local AYSO and WWSL soccer leagues,” Johnson stated and added, “In sum, consistent with Hackley’s own educational programmatic priorities and security needs, we are eager to continue to be good neighbors!”

“Hackley also maintains good relationships with the adjacent Tarry Crest Swimming & Tennis Club and the Hillcrest Neighborhood Association,” Johnson pointed out. As part of its application, the school also intends “to acquire approximately 13,100 sq. ft. of property from the adjacent Tarry Crest Swimming Club as part of a proposed subdivision.” Hackley also proposes the demolition of “an existing single family residence on the school campus and the construction of 12 units of faculty housing in two separate buildings.

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