Four oak trees, each between 80 and 100 years old, and one linden tree between 30 and 40 years old, will most likely be removed from the Port Washington Blvd. side of the Weber Middle School to accommodate the three story expansion of the facility. The site plan, which includes the removal of the trees, has already been approved by the board of education.
However, Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington strongly oppose the destruction of these trees. The group's chairman Myron Blumenfeld states that "these trees provide a grand gateway to our community. They screen out noise and sun for the school building and form the major facade for our school campus."
Eric Pick, a local architect and board member of RFAMBPW, has reviewed the site plan. He claims, "There are always alternative ways to provide added capacity to the school. A new wing, 40 feet high within 10 feet of the roadway will seriously affect the streetscape. Keeping the building back from the road would preserve the line of trees forever."
Naomi Beckley, a neighbor of the school and volunteer on many beautification projects, ads, "As someone who was among those responsible for re-landscaping the high school campus, I feel strongly that where trees can be saved, they should not be removed.
Explaining the school district's position, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Inserra says, "All decisions on the renovations and expansions to the schools have been made in public, including the site plan for Weber and Schreiber. The architects have been at these public meetings and discussed the fact that these trees would have to come down to accommodate the addition. They also told us that they have explored every other option to locate the three-story addition. But, given the size of the overall site, it was not possible."
Joe Randazzo, the lead architect from the district's architectural firm, Spector Group, commented, "The Weber School's three-story addition will house new classrooms and new science rooms. It will include a double-loaded corridor in order to fit the program needs of the school and students. As a result, the addition must come out as far as it does. Unfortunately, the existing trees will be eliminated." Mr. Randazzo notes, however, that the new landscaping plan will incorporate new trees and plantings around the new addition.
Mr. Blumenfeld asks that anyone opposed to the removal of these trees contact the school.