the Cupola Fiasco

In Uncategorized on May 5, 2008 at 2:57 pm

When is a replica not a replica?

When the BOE’s woeful administrators at Cottage Place are in charge.
That’s when! Throughout the Village over the weekend parents peppered their conversations with alarm about the replacement cupola atop the high school. “What have they done?” “Who okayed this?” “Why doesn’t it look the same?” “What company did the work?” “Why did the Board want a new design?” “I think it’s ugly.” “It’s a screw up.” “Can’t they do anything right?” “Why didn’t they fix the old one, it went with the building?” “Could you believe the thing came, it was wrong and they still put it up there?” The natives are indeed restless.

Blame for this newest, expensive fiasco can be laid at the feet of Steven Tichenor, our manager of maintenance and custodial services, and our business manager, Angelo DeSimone. Tischner, reportedly, was the official in charge of ensuring that the cupola was “replicated.”
Obviously, he must have failed English and didn’t know what the word “replicate” meant. DeSimone was the official in charge of paying the bills for a job completed to match the work order. Obviously, he’s blind and cannot be held responsible for not seeing that the cupola was a new design. The Board — well members were busy with the election, wringing their hands over the budget and, uh… coffees. Who gets screwed? The taxpayers…AGAIN! They should make this right. Take down this faux replica and put up the real thing.

Wayside Gardens

  1. Hey, is this the same Steve Tischner who wants to spend $70K to build a retaining wall at BF’s NE baseball field and turned down a gift from the RBSA to have it done for a mere $9K?

  2. I guess they thought no one would notice.

    When I told my daughter that the new cupola was put in place, her first response was, “It is not the same as the old one.”

    I’ll bet the boys at Cottage Place figured no one would notice.

    Fix this folly and make it right.

  3. Did we pay for this to be replicated or just for a close replacement?

    If we paid for a replica, we should insist it be taken down and built to replicate the old cupola exactly.

    If we paid for a close replacement, then those who approved the redesign should be fired.

  4. Oh no, no no, this cupola must GO!

    It’s certainly not a replica and not a near replacement. I don’t even think it stylistically matches.

  5. The same thing happened when they replaced the cupola at Princeton… Right?

  6. It sucks how badly we are served by the denizens of Cottage Place. Who is this Tichner guy? Why does he think he gets to tell us what we have to live with?

    He should go and the phony replica should go too.

  7. In 2092 local historians researching the history of Ridgewood for the village’s upcoming Bicentennial celebration will uncover images of the original High School cupola and uncover that it was replaced in 2008 with the current (2092) incorrect cupola.

    All turns out well in the end, however, as (required since the Ridgewood Historic Preservation Society regulations of 2076) descendents of the craftsmen of the original cupola were hired (at great taxpayer expense) to restore the cupola to its original design using reclaimed historically accurate materials. It is unveiled as a centerpiece of the 2094 Bicentennial celebration of Ridgewood, much to the delight and joy of all in the village.

    It will be noted in the Bicentennial media guide that some local residents expressed displeasure at the “new” cupola in 2008, but were dismissed as a “lunatic fringe” and disregarded.

  8. In the overall scheme of things, this shouldn’t be that big a deal — but for some reason it is. I am really, REALLY bothered that the new cupola is not a replica.

    What can we do to make this right?

  9. The cupola should be corrected.

    The cupola is a significant image for Ridgewood in general and especially for Ridgewood High School and it should be historically correct.
    If you do not believe that the cupola is significant, then why is it the banner image on the Ridgewood High School web page?

  10. The erroneous replica of the copula is indicative of the lack of respect this district’s administrators, like Steve Tischner and Angelo DiSimone, have for our children, the schools and parents.

    Who do these folks think they work for?

  11. Wow, after looking at the High School web site, home page banner, it is even more clear how off the mark the new copula is.

    I guess they’ll have to change the picture in the banner to that plain new ugly copula.

    Nice how we are preserving the traditions of Ridgewood.

    Bit by bit, drip, drip, drip – this village looses its character and charm.

    I say we get a Wal Mart where the town garage is supposed to be and let them build underground parking for us.

  12. A few things:

    First – LAN Associates, the architectural firm that oversaw the project – made the mistake and they will fix it at their expense.

    Second – The previous cupola was not the original cupola. The original cupola (which was more ornate) was destroyed in the 1960 attic fire. The replacement (which is what the new one is trying to replicate) was not nearly the same design as the original.

  13. Who said LAN will replace at their expense????

  14. 2:54 –

    Thanks for the info…

    1) Do you know if LAN is going to “fix” it to the original cupola design or the “post 1960’s fire” design?

    2) Do you have any images of the original design?

    3) Is the original design anywhere near to the design of the newest cupola?

    Thanks in advance.

  15. The business admin. at the bd. meeting

  16. Why did the business admin. and Tichner approve this copula being placed on top of the building when they could plainly see (unless blind as the post surmises) that it was not a replica? That seems a ridiculous expense to have incurred. Was LAN on site when the cupola arrived to check it out? We hire LAN for just about everything. It wouldn’t surprise me if 1 out of every 6 board of ed dollars go into their coffers. At least they can oversee something and CARE JUST A LITTLE BIT.

  17. LAN aren’t they the firm that told Orchard parents that the soil in the field wasn’t contaminated.

    What, are there no other architects in Bergen County that we could hire?

  18. Is it my eyse or does the new one seem too large and out of proportion?

    It looks like an unnatural material, is made out of that maintenance free stuff that looks like wood?

  19. Why is EVERYTHING always so negative? Give it a REST!

  20. What was the final cost to us for this “cupola fiasco?”

  21. According to the board of ed meeting tonight, Business Admin Disimone said there will be no cost at all to Ridgewood or the BOE to correct the contractor’s mistake. That’s all it was people — a really stupid mistake but not one made by our BOE folks this time. The cupola will be replaced and will look the way it did before it was removed (except it won’t be leaning).

    Show’s over. Move along, people.

  22. 2:54 PM stated, “LAN Associates, the architectural firm that oversaw the project – made the mistake and they will fix it at their expense.”

    3:36 PM asked, “Who said LAN will replace at their expense????”

    And 5:22 PM responded, “The business admin. at the bd. meeting.”

    The last post was made before Monday night’s BOE meeting.

    Was the post by Mr. DeSimone or Mr.Tischner?

    This begs the question, why was it put up in the first place.

    Who approved that it go up?

    Where were Mr. DeSimone and Mr. Tischner when it went up? Why wasn’t one of them there to ensure that it was the correct copula?

    Are really we to believe that the taxpayers will not incur any additional expenses for this “mistake” when our own administrators failed to supervise the placement of the erroneous copula atop the High School?

    These are questions that should be asked by the BOE and answered to the public’s satisfaction.

    Were they asked and answered at last night’s BOE meeting?

    If so, then 12:30 AM’s quip “Show’s over. Move along, people” makes perfect sense. But somehow, knowing the district and its propensity to shrug off, shift and avoid blame, this poster doubts that we are getting the whole story.

  23. 7:45 AM,

    Yes, LAN is the firm that screwed up the Orchard addition. First, it’s ugly. Second, they didn’t oversee the work and allowed the coal ash to make it’s way to the surface.

    Will we use them again? Yes, again and again. Our Board of Ed knows no better than to continue to use those who fail us over and over again. I mean, is DeSimone a good business manager? Is Tichner a good facilities manager? Is Regina a good curriculum director? Is Hutton the best we can do overseeing the budget? Is the principal at Travell the best person for the job? Was Brooks the best superintendent for Ridgewood?

    Need I go on?


  25. 8:37 AM,

    Do you really believe that we keep voting for these people?

    The question should be, why do WE as a village keep voting for these people?

  26. No the question is why do YOU vote for these people(I don’t) ,the simply fact that Brogan and Goodman won so handedly when the school system has been ruined by all this constructivist teaching and the buildings and fields are falling down . As a long time Ridgewood Resident I haven’t voted for a school budget in may 20 years ,we used to have the best schools in the state now we are just happy the beat out Newark on standardized tests …good grief! I find it simply amazing how this once great school system has been dismantled. This town used to really care about education but I guess all these New Yorkers coming in are used to sending there kids to private schools.

  27. No matter what it costs, no matter who will pay, it looks like, in the end, we WILL have FIXED THIS PROBLEM and WILL have a proper cupola on the High School.
    I’m glad they are fixing it and not trying to convince everyone that it is “OK” as it is.

    Too Bad the same can’t be said for the Math situation…
    The COST of the Bad Math is far greater – our children’s education and future… and yet Ridgewood’s Math curriculum remains broken.

  28. Wait a minute! This is Ridgewood! The only way to remedy the situation is to knock down the high school then build a new one under a replica of the original cupola. Only then can we maintain our image.

  29. So how did LAN, a supposedly well- managed and reputable firm – screw up so badly?

    It’s not a small screw up but a really big one. The cupola is totally different. That’s a huge mess up. How did it happen? Why are they so willing to pay the whole cost so quickly? What did they do, exactly?

    Who’s protecting whom? Is this so that they ensure getting our future business which they seem to have a lock on anyway?

  30. LAN is like Bolger on steriods. They have a death grip on our school system.

  31. Let’s stop looking back and look forward. The cupola has nothing to do with how and what our children are learning.
    I say out with the old…way of thinking, approach to learning…and antiquated/tenured teachers. The “cupola controversy” was an error and it will be fixed. But the bigger issues will drag our school system down and impair our children’s minds.
    Wake up Ridgewood.

  32. 156 the cupola is just one more example of how BOE mismanages the once great school system and frankly YOU VOTED FOR THESE PEOPLE so you get what you deserve !

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