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Project Update | June 16, 2016

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

As Friends Seminary’s redevelopment project moves forward, we are committed to providing our neighbors and the broader community with ongoing updates regarding the work taking place at the school. Now that the school’s summer recess has started, we have mobilized to undertake the construction work that may only be done while the building is empty. This includes erecting the steel structure relating to the additional floors and rooftop playstructure. When school is back in session, beginning September 7, work will shift to that which can take place safely during student occupation of the building.

Careful deconstruction of existing building elements has begun, starting with the removal of bricks from select areas on the facades of Hunter Hall. One component of work associated with this process is the required abatement of “asbestos containing materials,” or ACM. With this update, we want to assure you of the significant precautions our construction team are undertaking to ensure that this necessary work is executed with the utmost care and in compliance with all required city, state and federal safety regulations.

Our construction manager, Tishman Construction, has a strong and lengthy track record of managing asbestos abatement. As we are committed to ensuring a safe process for the school and our neighborhood, engaging a firm like Tishman with extensive expertise in addition to experienced subcontractors was an imperative. The abatement work is being performed by PAL Environmental Services, a subcontractor specializing in this field, and managed by Tishman. A third-party monitoring agent is also required by the NYC Department of Buildings. The school also has engaged Applied GeoServices (AGS), which is monitoring and inspecting all abatement work completed by PAL Environmental Services, according to rigorous standards set forth by the NYC Department of Environmental Protection.

Abatement of Hunter Hall’s interior spaces began on June 10, 2016, and is projected to be completed by June 18, 2016. Exterior abatement is expected to commence during the week of June 20, following the sawcutting and hand removal of bricks on both facades of Hunter Hall. We anticipate this work will take two weeks.

In advance of this abatement, background air sampling was conducted in accordance with local, state and federal asbestos removal regulations. Air sampling will be repeated during and subsequent to abatement operations, and equipment will measure residual asbestos sensitive to one-micron particle (1/1,000,000 of a meter). As required, workers and inspectors must wear protective disposable clothing (full-body coveralls, head covers, gloves and footwear), eye-protective equipment, hard hats, and respiratory protective equipment. To control dust and debris, workers are using equipment such as handheld dust suppression misting systems, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and vacuums, and negative air filtration devices. Additionally, all processes resulting in dust, such as drilling, include use of HEPA attachments and surfaces are wet-wiped and HEPA-vacuumed. Drop cloths are being used and airlock tent enclosures constructed during the relevant removal phases. All areas are sealed as required and decontamination facilities have been constructed and equipped with showers for workers to decontaminate after they exit the work areas, as well as for the decontamination of containerized waste as it is removed from work areas.

Asbestos containing material is removed from the site in sealed containers as required by the DEP, with verification by third-party monitor AGS. The containers are transported and disposed of out-of-state to a permitted facility in Ohio.

Friends Seminary will continue to provide updates to our neighbors and community, in addition to our elected officials, as the process of school redevelopment moves forward. As we approach key project milestones this summer, we will be convening another community information meeting, the first of which was held on April 7. These meetings provide an opportunity for the school and our project managers from Tishman Construction to provide detailed descriptions of our expansion and construction project and, importantly, to respond to your questions.

If you have any immediate questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us by email ( or phone (646-979-5225).

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