New Middle School Will Feature Solar Panel, Greenhouse, & Wind Turbines
Today a new, sustainable middle school in the Bronx was the site of a ribbon cutting held by Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, local officials and parents. In keeping with the Bloomberg education reform which has opened hundreds of small, specialized schools during this administration, Highbridge Environmental Education Campus opened this year to serve 391 students in grades six to eight. Students on the campus are attending a new school called The Highbridge Green School and the students will have the opportunity to make use of a wealth of resources: a green house, weather station, and windmill. The green house will be located on a fenced-in roof which will be used as a growing platform sustained by a water retention system. The building, fully air-conditioned and accessible for students with disabilities, also features solar panels for students to use in science projects. The brand new four-story facility is comprised of 12 standard classrooms with specialty rooms for art and music as well as a science lab and library. It also includes an auditorium that can be converted into a gym with a basketball court and a performance stage.
Chancellor Walcott was joined at the event by Deputy Chancellor of Operations Kathleen Grimm, School Construction Authority CEO and President Lorraine Grillo, Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Deputy Bronx Borough President Aurelia Greene, School District 9 Superintendent Dolores Esposito, Principal of The Highbridge Green School Kyle Brillante, Co-President of the Parent Association Jose Gonzalez, and Parent Organizer of The Highbridge United Coalition Ocynthia Williams. The $34 million contract award for the new building went to Iannelli Construction Co., Inc. and was designed by Fletcher Thompson.
“This school’s green roof, weather station and windmill are powerful resources to teach kids about the importance of preserving our natural resources,” said Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott. “This is a great opportunity for students to focus on cutting-edge sustainability initiatives as they prepare for college and careers.”
“The Highbridge Environmental Education Campus will enhance borough efforts to educate our children in a proactive way. The amenities and green systems incorporated into the school building are conducive for an ideal learning environment. I am proud to say that my office has contributed $580,000 to this project which provides students with the facilities needed to explore the full potential of their intellectual curiosity,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“We are thrilled with the new green roof and green house that will provide many teachable moments for our students,” Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm said. “It is a wonderful way to learn about preserving resources.”
“The School Construction Authority is delighted to offer a new building that will prepare middle school students for high school,” SCA President Lorraine Grillo said.
“We are excited to be in such a building that provides our students with state-of-the-art facility,” said Principal of the Highbridge Environmental Education Campus Kyle Brillante. “The green roof and the weather station will help our students learn about the importance of sustainability and conservation.”
“I am very proud to have supported our community in its drive to get a middle school in the Highbridge community,” said Council Woman Maria del Carmen Arroyo. “This school is a great example of what is possible when we work together,” said City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo.
“We are so glad that finally our neighborhood is providing an educational building where our parents and youngster feel safe and confident. A Green School that will prepare our students to get the higher standard of education they deserve that will prepare the success in college and their careers,” said Jose Gonzalez, Co-President of the Parent Association.
“The Highbridge community worked long and hard to win this middle school, and we are determined to make it a model for all of New York City ensuring that the voices of the community will always be heard, and to support the principal, staff, and students,” said Parent Organizer of The Highbridge United Coalition Ocynthia Williams.
The Highbridge Environmental Education Campus is one of 19 newly constructed school buildings that opened this year. The DOE, which oversees the SCA, has opened 164 new buildings, creating over 126,000 new seats since 2002.