Plans presented for P.S. 170 addition

June 3, 2013 Denise Romano
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The School Construction Authority presented plans for an addition to P.S. 170 at a joint meeting of Community Board 10’s Zoning and Land Use and Youth Service, Education and Library committees held at the district office on Thursday, May 30.

Gavin Macrae, lead architect at Macrae-Gibson Architects, the firm that is designing the school, presented the plans. He explained that the existing building at Sixth Avenue between 71st and 72nd Streets was built in 1913, with five stories and no cellar.

The new building will go in place of what is now the schoolyard and two temporary classroom units, which are currently in the process of being removed. The space will add 240 seats and 11 classrooms which will reduce overcrowding at the school.

The school’s main entrance will be moved to 72nd Street at a new address: 619 72nd Street. Students and staff will be able to move seamlessly from one building to another, just like the annexes at P.S/I.S. 229 and P.S./I.S. 163. The flagpole will be relocated to the new main entrance.

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The new building will also be five stories, but will have a cellar. It will also have two elevator banks and a brand new dining room and full kitchen for the entire school.

On the second floor, there will be four kindergarten classrooms with a childhood development facility located on the roof of the dining room. This will be an outdoor green space for students to use as a supplement to class time.

The third floor will have a science demonstration room. There will also be a brand new library overlooking the street with large windows as well as a music lab in the cellar.

The fifth floor will have a brand new double height gymnasium with lots of light.

There will also be improvements to the existing building. The first floor will have a new administration facility with a parent coordinator room and a resource room. There will be new bathrooms throughout the school as well as all new lighting and improved storage and custodial space.

All doors and hallways will be repainted.

On the second floor, the auditorium will get a small overhaul. It will be fully air conditioned and have a handicap accessible stage.

Where the old principal’s office and library was, there will be two new classrooms and a resource room. There will also be a new medical suite and an expanded teacher’s lunchroom in the existing building.

Macrae said that there will be links on every floor between the buildings.

“I think it will be a wonderful addition to the community,” he commented. “Our goal is to maintain and improve the historical character of the building. Our goal is not to provide a building that looks like it was built in 1913. Things don’t stay the same, but they evolve over time…so we want to provide something that’s a handsome accompaniment to it.”

He added that the school’s principal worked with the firm to come up with the design.

Reps from the SCA said they anticipate finding a contractor by July. It will take two years to build the new addition and one year to restore the old building. If all goes according to plan, students will be able to move into the annex by September, 2015 and construction will be completely finished by fall 2016.

The plans must be presented before the full board for a vote in order for the process to move any further.

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