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Bridges ready to build

Saratoga Bridges is going green.

Thursday, Nov. 15, under damp skies, local business leaders, construction crews, and staff and board members of Saratoga Bridges gathered for the official ground-breaking ceremony of the organization's new green administrative building. The project is taking place adjacent to the current headquarters just off Route 9 in Malta. The $5 million, 21,000-square-foot building will accommodate the 550 staff members who are now working out of overflowing offices.

We're so cramped it's a hiring problem because we have nowhere to put the new staff we need, said board president Steven Rowland. "A new facility will also allow us to create more jobs for our consumers."

Since 1935, Saratoga Bridges has been providing services to people with disabilities and their families. In 1984, the agency opened its first community-based home; there are now 16 homes staffed 24 hours a day, as well as 10 program locations from South Glens Falls to Clifton Park. The agency also provides transportation, recreation and social outings, outreach and advocacy, referrals and public education workshops and seminars.

Richard Zandri of Zandri Construction in Cohoes said the project will be completed in about 10 months, and that the rain could be seen as a harbinger of good things to come.

"The rain is helping start percolating the soil; it's sandy, so the water sinks right through and makes it easy to dig," said Zandri.

Public relations spokeswoman Pamela Polacsek said support for the project from the community has been strong, with business owners, friends and area residents all pitching in during a capital campaign that is still ongoing.

"We couldn't have done this without help, and people came forward when we needed them," said Polacsek.

Polacsek is now writing grants to provide seed funds for having the building built to fulfill the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, a specific criteria by which a building's environmental friendliness can be measured. Certified buildings reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve water and energy, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a healthier and safer working environment for occupants.

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