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News and Speeches

Schools Chancellor Walcott Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Community Health Academy of the Heights


The high school will have a community health center scheduled to open in September

Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott today held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Community Health Academy of the Heights, which recently opened and serves 572 students in grades 7 to 12. In September, the school’s partners, the Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) and the Community Healthcare Network, will open a health center at the school. The new school, located at 504 W. 158th Street in Washington Heights, is in a six-story building that is fully air conditioned and wheelchair accessible with an administrative wing for CLOTH and the Community Healthcare Network. The first floor provides school administrative offices, a cafeteria and kitchen. The school includes 13 standard classrooms, an art room, music room, special education classrooms and a computer lab. The building also has a gymnasium and a science classroom with two demonstration rooms and a prep room.

Chancellor Walcott was joined at the event by Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm, School Construction Authority CEO and President Lorraine Grillo, City Council Member and Education Committee Chairman Robert Jackson, United Federal of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, Council of School Supervisors and Administrators Vice President Randi Herman, Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez,  Assembly Members Herman D. Farrell, Jr. and Gabriela Rosa,  State Senator Adriano Espaillat, Community Health Academy of the Heights Principal Mark House, CLOTH Executive Director Yvonne Stennett and Community Healthcare Network President and CEO Catherine M. Abate. The contract award of $43.8 million for the new building went to Andron Construction Corporation and Ben Thompson Associates. It is part of the SCA’s Capital Plan.

“This is a beautifully designed school with state-of-the-art science lab and music room and room for a community health center, thanks to our strong partnership with the Community League of the Heights and the Community Healthcare Network,” Chancellor Walcott said. “The result will be a strong educational and community facility for Washington Heights.”

“The creation and opening of the Lucille Bulger Center for Community Life is making history in Washington Heights through the use of strategic partnership and community school,” said CLOTH Executive Director Yvonne Stennett. “CLOTH is honored and proud to witness the realization of our vision many years in the making. We have produced a replicable model for how education, health, and social services can be integrated to create healthy communities.”

Congressman Charles B. Rangel said, “Congratulations to Ms. Stennett and Ms. Abate for
their leadership and tireless efforts in opening the Community Health Academy of the Heights, which has been a longtime vision of my good friend, and CLOTH founder, the late Lucille Bulger. I have full confidence that this school will provide children in my Congressional District with so many wonderful opportunities, like a career in healthcare that will enable their dreams to come true, with the hopes of creating a better future. I look forward to working with Chancellor Walcott to ensure that the new school receives the full support it needs to succeed.”

“Thanks to the grand opening of the Community Health Academy of the Heights, students in Northern Manhattan will have a direct portal to careers in health science,” said Council Member Robert Jackson. “The partnership between CLOTH, the Community Healthcare Network, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia Medical University Medical Center is a great example of how together we can lay a foundation to build a brighter and healthier future for our students. Congratulations to Yvonne Stennett, the Executive Director of CLOTH, for her leadership and the Community Health Academy students for preserving and finally moving into a learning environment that links their education directly to their community.”

“Congratulations to our partners, the Department of Education and CLOTH, on the opening of Community Health Academy of the Heights,” said Catherine M. Abate, President and CEO of the Community Healthcare Network.  “We're looking forward to joining them in a few months when we open our primary care clinic and to working with them in preparing students for future health care careers.”  The health clinic itself will be a family primary care clinic that also provides mental health and nutrition services. It will be a federally qualified health center that serves the entire community no matter the health coverage.  The Community Healthcare Network has 50% of their patients on Medicaid and 40% who are uninsured.

“We are delighted to be able to continue the great work of our students and staff in such a beautiful building,” said Mark W. House, principal of Community Health Academy of the Heights. “As we celebrate this amazing new space I can only but hope that we remain focused on what really makes an amazing school.  It is not the building, but the community contained within that building.  This is a great building and a terrific school because of the students and staff that work every day in this space.”

“It is important to bring the community together by linking education and health care facilities, a model that inevitably improves student health, learning and quality of life,” said Ernest A. Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors and Administrators. “This community partnership with the Community Health Academy of the Heights should be celebrated and emulated.”

UFT President Michael Mulgrew said, “The UFT is proud to work with Community Health Academy of the Heights (CHAH), one of the six schools receiving a UFT Community Learning Schools Initiative grant, to help tackle issues like health care, food education, continuing education services and many of the other challenges facing our city’s students and families. The type of work being done at CHAH – a full service health clinic, healthy living classes, and adult ESL education - should be replicated, and we hope to bring similar services to schools and communities across New York City.”

“It's an honor to dedicate the Lucille Bulger Center for Community Life – a terrific tribute for a woman who devoted her career to serving the Washington Heights community,” said State Senator Adriano Espaillat. “It is especially fitting that this state-of-the-art building will house the Community Health Academy, and that our middle- and high school students will finally be united under one roof. I am proud of this innovative school, and the 100% college acceptance rate its students achieved last year.”

“The new home for this forward-thinking school will give students an opportunity to grow in a more suitable environment and better prepare them for success in college,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. The administration and the DOE have done great work at the Community Health Academy of the Heights and they will continue to do so for decades to come. With these state-of-the-art facilities, students now have a building they can take pride in, boosting their confidence to excel in all areas.”

“As a native of Washington Heights, the opening of a new, state-of-the-art school on 158th Street is tremendous news for this neighborhood and its residents,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “I am proud to have contributed $750,000 to help develop a health clinic at Community Health Academy of the Heights, a school that will empower the next generation of health care professionals through partnerships with CLOTH and the Community Healthcare Network.”

“The Community Health Academy of the Heights' long-awaited new building will be a brilliant addition to our community and will enable students that have previously been housed under two roofs to finally join together and achieve their common goals as one united school,” said Assembly Member Gabriela Rosa. “This school provides an excellent education to students in Washington Heights, and its unique focus on public health prepares these students for rewarding careers, leading to bright futures.”