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News and Speeches

Chancellor Walcott and Elected Officials Cut the Ribbon on the Two New Midtown Schools That Opened This School Year


Educational Construction Fund Project Created State-of-the-art School Building for PS 59 and the High School of Art and Design

Schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott and elected officials today officially cut the ribbon on two new schools in Midtown Manhattan that were built at no cost to taxpayers. The $147.5 million cost of construction for PS 59 and the High School of Art and Design on East 57th Street is being paid for by a private developer as part of a partnership with the Department of Education’s Educational Construction Fund (ECF), which develops mixed-use real estate projects featuring new school facilities. Chancellor Walcott was joined at the ribbon cutting by Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, ECF Executive Director Jamie Smarr, School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo, World-Wide Group Partner David Lowenfeld, Assembly Member Dan Quart and Council Members Dan Garodnick and Jessica Lappin, PS 59 Principal Adele Schroeter, and High School of Art and Design Principal Eric Strauss.

“This public-private partnership is a win-win for our students and parents,” Chancellor Walcott said. “This is a state-of-the-art building at no cost to the City that helps to enhance our students’ education as they prepare for college and careers.”

The schools were built in partnership with the ECF, the School Construction Authority and a private developer, the World Wide Group. The property includes a residential tower, the two schools and retail space on 57th Street which is a Whole Foods Market. The entrances for each school are on E. 56th Street between Second and Third Avenues. There are 660 seats for PS 59, 1,450 seats for the high school and 70 District 75-special education seats. Among the features of the new building are two separate rooftop playgrounds for the students. The elementary school’s play area is on the seventh floor roof and the high school’s is on the 12th floor roof. Each school also has its own gym. The new construction is “green,” which means the building complies with the City’s regulations for environmentally friendly building materials and operations that provide more natural light and controlled heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems.

“We are very proud of these two schools which are the result of a successful partnership between World-Wide and the City of New York,” said David Lowenfeld, executive vice president of The World-Wide Group. “The innovative design provides the students with beautiful state-of-the-art schools, and enhances the gracious residential neighborhood.”

“This mixed-use project is the best example of how we find innovate ways to improve our schools,” said Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm. “Through the Educational 
Construction Fund we lease air rights in exchange for the construction of a new school building for these schools.”

“This building is now one of the school system’s largest facilities at over 300,000 square feet,” said ECF Executive Director Jamie Smarr. “This project is evidence of the great things that can be accomplished when the public and private sectors work together.”

In ECF projects, the developer repays the bonds in return for rights to develop a site that includes new school construction along with commercial and residential space. The World-Wide Group is leasing the 57th Street site from ECF for 75 years.

“After eight years of dreaming and planning, we are thrilled to finally be settling in to our brand new school building,” PS 59 Principal Adele Schroeter. Our families now have an extraordinary school building, housing a wonderful school community, right in the heart of the neighborhood.”

“We are pleased that the City and the DOE have supplied The High School of Art and Design a new home,” said the high school’s principal, Eric Strauss. “We are entering our 76th year and feel that the construction of our new school provides the resources to take us long into the future. New studios and up-to-date equipment ensures that our mission, educating students in the commercial and fine arts, is secured.”

“This is a great example of public-private partnership,” Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney said. “The improvements to this campus will greatly enhance the educational experience of students attending both schools, giving them access to better resources.  As a former New York City public school teacher, I know how essential it is to improve not only the quality of education for students, but also the quality of their educational environment.  Investing in excellent education – and finding creative ways to improve education for our students – will continue to pay dividends long into the future.”

“I am thrilled to celebrate the opening of PS 59's permanent home,” Assembly Member Dan Quart said. “This building is the first school in the city to achieve compliance with sustainable design standards, a remarkable accomplishment. The students of PS 59 are lucky to have this state of the art facility to house the fantastic learning community Principal Adele Schroeter has built.”

“PS 59 finally has the home it deserves,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “This new facility is a great East Side educational success story. Congratulations to Principal Adele Schroeter, and to the entire PS 59 community.”

“This project is a win-win for our community—we’re getting two brand-new schools for free, and a new Whole Foods. It’s a wonderful example of a public private partnership,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin.