Greenwich High School’s Old Auditorium OK to Go Out with a Loud Bang


GHS auditorium demolition

The old auditorium at Greenwich High School is entering final stages of demolition, Dec. 15, 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

The Town of Greenwich Health Department has okayed a noise variance for the remaining demolition of the old auditorium at Greenwich High School.

“The work may be noisy at times because it involves steel demolition,” GHS Headmaster Dr. Winters said in a Dec. 11 letter to neighbors, thanking them for their patience.

For the safety of students, the work must be done outside school hours and the variance is in effect from 6:00pm until 11:00pm on weekdays and  7:00am until 5:00pm on Saturdays, excluding Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The work is scheduled to be done by Jan 7 and the variance ends January 8.

Michael Long, Director of the Health Dept Division of Environmental Services approved the noise variance, noting that the the demolition will involve a crane, heavy excavator and boom lifts. Turner Construction will have someone on site at all times during the second shift and has a emergency contact list.

demolish auditorium

Almost entirely gutted auditorium at Greenwich High School, Dec. 15, 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

demolition dec. 15, 2015

Almost entirely gutted auditorium at Greenwich High School, Dec. 15, 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

Since the new performing arts center opened in early October, the old auditorium’s days have been numbered. In its place new instructional space and a new facade will be constructed.

Performing Arts Center

The new performing arts center at Greenwich High School was full for a student concert on Oct. 7, 2015. Credit: Leslie Yager

The first student concert took place in the new Performing Arts Center on Oct. 7. There was almost a full house, and guests marveled at the acoustics, along with the performance of an original piece by GHS grad class of ’81, Rob Mathes entitled “Can You Hear me?”

PHOTOS, VIDEO: GHS Performing Arts Center is Full to the Gills for First Student Concert


Most of the inside of the old auditorium at Greenwich High School was gone as of Dec. 15, 2015 Credit: Leslie Yager


Demolition of old auditorium at Greenwich High School, Dec. 15, 2015 Credit: Leslie Yager



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    Sec. 6B-1. – Declaration of policy.
    Inadequately controlled noise presents a growing danger to the public health and welfare of persons within the Town of Greenwich. The policy of the Board of Health is to promote an environment free from noise that jeopardizes the health and welfare of persons within the Town of Greenwich.

    (Bd. of Health, 2/8/1984.)

    Sec. 6B-2. – Definitions.
    As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

    Board of Health is that Board authorized by Section 25 of Number 444 of the Special Acts of 1939, as amended.
    Business Zone shall include BEX-50, WB, LB, LBR, CGB, CGBR, GR, GBO and P Zones as so designated in the current Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map of the Town of Greenwich.
    Construction is any and all physical activity at a site necessary or incidental to the erection, placement, demolition, assembling, altering, blasting, cleaning, repairing, installing or equipping of buildings or other structures, public or private highways, roads, premises, parks, utility lines or other property, and shall include but not be limited to land clearing, grading, excavating, filling and paving.
    Daytime is 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. local time.
    Director is the Director of Health as defined in the Special Acts of the Town of Greenwich or his/her authorized representative.
    Emergency is any occurrence involving actual or imminent danger to persons or damage to property which demands immediate action.
    Fire Horn is a sound-producing device activated by compressed air or electronics, located at a fire station, to alert fire-fighting personnel.
    Gasoline-powered leaf blower is defined as a home or commercial tool, powered by a gasoline engine, that is used primarily for, but not limited to, accumulating leaves, grass clippings, cleaning gutters, and other related tasks.
    Legal holiday shall include all legal holidays designated by the Town of Greenwich.
    Motorboat is defined as any vessel not more than sixty-five (65) feet in length and propelled by machinery, whether or no such machinery is the principal source of propulsion.
    Motorcycle is defined as per Section 14-1(25) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
    Motor vehicle is defined as per Section 14-1(26) of the Connecticut General Statutes.
    Muffler is a device for abating sounds such as escaping gasses.
    Nighttime is 10:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. local time.
    Person is any individual, firm, partnership, association, syndicate, company, trust, corporation, municipality, agency or political or administrative subdivision of the state or other legal entity of any kind.
    Premises is any building, structure, land or portion thereof, including all appurtenances, and shall include yards, lots, courts, inner yards and real properties without buildings or improvements, owned or controlled by a person. The emitter’s “premises” includes contiguous publicly dedicated street and highway rights-of-way, all road rights-of-way and waters of the state.
    Property line is that real or imaginary line along the ground surface and its vertical extension which:
    Separates real property owned or controlled by any person from contiguous real property owned or controlled by another person; and
    Separates real property from the public right-of-way.
    Public right-of-way is any street, avenue, boulevard, highway, alley, sidewalk, park, waterway, railroad or similar place which is owned, maintained or controlled by a government entity over which the public in general has a right of passage.
    Residential Zone shall include RA-4, RA-2, RA-1, R-20, R-12, R-7, R-6, R-MF, RC, PHD-E, PHD-N, RPHD-TH, RPHD-SU and R-PR Zones as so designated in the current Zoning Regulations and Zoning Map of the Town of Greenwich.
    Weekday is any day Monday through Friday which is not a legal holiday.
    (Bd. of Health, 2/8/1984; 3/28/1994.)

    Sec. 6B-3. – Acoustic terminology and definitions.
    All acoustical terminology used in these Regulations shall be in conformance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Acoustical Terminology, contained in publication S1.1, as it now exists and as it may be hereafter modified. The definitions below shall apply if the particular term is not defined in the aforesaid ANSI publication.

    Ambient or background noise is noise of a measurable intensity which exists at a point as a result of a combination of many distant sources individually indistinguishable.
    Decibel (dB) is a unit of measurement of the sound level.
    Excessive noise is any sound, the intensity of which exceeds the standards set forth in Section 6B-5 of this chapter.
    Impulse noise is noise of short duration (generally less than one (1) second), especially of high intensity, abrupt onset and rapid decay and often rapidly changing spectral composition.
    Peak sound pressure level is the absolute maximum value of the instantaneous sound pressure level occurring in a specified period of time.
    Sound is a transmission of energy through solid, liquid or gaseous media in the form of vibrations which constitute alterations in pressure or position of the particles in the medium and which, in air, evoke physiological sensations, including but not limited to an auditory response when impinging on the ear.
    Sound level meter is an instrument, including a microphone, an amplifier, an output meter and frequency-weighting networks for the measurement of sound levels. The “sound level meter” shall conform to ANSI Specifications for Sound Level Meters, S1.4-1971.
    Sound pressure level (SPL) is twenty (20) times the logarithm to the base 10 of the ratio of the sound pressure in question to the standard reference pressure of 0.00002 N/M2. It is expressed in decibel units.
    (Bd. of Health, 2/8/1984.)

    Sec. 6B-4. – Measurements and instruments.
    For the purpose of determining noise levels as set forth in this chapter, the following shall be applicable:
    All personnel conducting sound measurements shall be trained in the current techniques and principles of sound-measuring equipment and instrumentation.
    Instruments used to determine sound level measurements shall conform to the sound level meters as defined by this chapter.
    The general steps listed below shall be followed when preparing to take sound level measurements:
    The instrument manufacturer’s specific instructions for the preparation and use of the instrument shall be followed.
    The sound level meter shall be calibrated before and after each set of measurements.
    When measurements are taken out of doors, a wind screen shall be placed over the microphone of the sound level meter as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
    The sound level meter shall be placed at an angle to the sound source as specified by the manufacturer’s instructions and at least four (4) feet above the ground. It shall be so placed as not to be interfered with by individuals conducting the measurements.
    Measurements shall be taken at a point that is located about one (1) foot beyond the property line of the emitter’s premises within the receptor’s premises. The emitter’s premises includes his/her individual unit of land or group of contiguous parcels under the same ownership as indicated by public land records.
    While measurements are being recorded, a continual visual and aural surveillance of extraneous sound sources shall be made to ensure that the measurements are due to the sound being investigated. The sound levels of extraneous sound sources shall be recorded.
    The intentional moving or rendering inaccurate or inoperative of any sound-monitoring instrument or device positioned or used by or for the Director, provided that such device or the immediate area is clearly labeled to warn of the potential illegality, shall be a violation of this chapter.
    (Bd. of Health, 2/8/1984.)

    Sec. 6B-5. – Allowable noise levels.
    General prohibition. No person shall, except as provided in Section 6B-6, cause, allow or permit the creation, continuance or maintenance of any noise beyond the property lines of his/her premises in excess of the noise levels established in these regulations.
    Impulse noise. No person shall, except as provided in Section 6B-6, cause or allow the emission of impulse noise in excess of eighty (80) dB peak sound pressure level during the nighttime to any residential noise zone. No person shall cause or allow the emission of impulse noise in excess of one hundred (100) dB peak sound pressure at any time to any business or residential zone.
    Noise level standards.
    No person in a residential zone shall emit noise, except impulses, beyond the property lines of his/her premises exceeding the levels stated herein:
    Residential 55 dBA 55 dBA 45 dBA
    Emitter’s Zone Receptor’s Zone
    Business Residential/Day Residential/Night


  • Maura

    I was picking up last night after a sporting activity and it wasn’t as loud as I expected.
    I’m so glad they are getting this done quickly instead of waiting for another break or summer. Progress!