Client: NYC SCA
Location: Bronx, NY
As part of NYC’s Pre-K for All program, this new pre-kindergarten school located within the Bronx on Webster Avenue, occupies the entire second level of an existing building that was previously used as a parking garage.
The location of classrooms was of paramount importance as the client wanted to fit eleven (11) classrooms, along with supporting spaces, within in a design restrictive footprint. Locating the eleven (11) classrooms, each with there own Toilet Room, along the perimeter of the footprint allows for sufficient natural lighting to be brought in, however, the classrooms that could not take advantage of the existing storefront along the perimeter walls were pushed towards the center of the space, where a series of skylights and clerestories are utilized for natural lighting. The classrooms have an average size of 900 sf, allowing for 18 children in each making the total student capacity 198.
The only first floor space is the Lobby that has an interior ADA compliant ramp for the slight elevation change from grade level, a security desk, and an elevator. On the second floor, a secondary Lobby exists outside the stair and elevator that leads into an eight foot wide, well-lit corridor wrapping around the centrally located rooms creating a doughnut shape. Three classrooms along with most of the school’s support spaces, i.e. the Principal’s Office, Parents Room, Staff Lounge, Conference Room and Administration space, are located at the center of the space to allow for most of the classrooms to be located at the perimeter of the building. A Warming Pantry and an Exercise Room are located at the back of the space as additional support rooms.
The largest technical challenges on this project were the improvements necessary to bring the building up to a new building code and accommodating the original location and access for building utilities. As the Occupancy Use Class changed from Business Use to Education, additional life safety measures were needed, including new stairs, new fireproofing at existing structure, security improvements, and several mechanical systems upgrades.