$950 billion spent on NYC private school renovation/construction projects in past four years: WSJ

Renderings of the $70 million Friends Seminary project in Gramercy Park. Tishman Construction is building the structure designed by Kliment Halsband Architects.

There’s a building boom in construction and modernization for New York’s private schools, Dodge Data & Analytics reports in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

K-12 private and religious schools in the city have started about $950 million in projects since the beginning of 2014, according to the report.

Private schools are expanding to accommodate growing waiting lists, adding amenities and services for students and redesigning classrooms to meet changing education trends, the WSJ reports.

“(Parents) think if you can afford a bigger building it must say something about you as an institution,” author and former private school admissions counselor Amy Poeppel told the WSJ. “Shiny spaces matter to New Yorkers.”

“The top 5% of incomes are the primary clientele of independent schools,” George Davison, head of Grace Church School in Manhattan, said in the published report. “People at the top end have resources that they never had before. They are very generous and share it with us,” he said.

Projects under way include Grace Church School with a $15 million upgrade to its athletic facilities, including a golf simulator, batting cage and new bleachers. Meanwhile, Friends Seminary in Gramercy Park is spending $70 million on an expansion that will connect three townhouses adjacent to the school to the main building. The school will also add floors to the townhouses, partly for the addition of a greenhouse and a climbing wall.

Other New York prep schools like Horace Mann, Riverdale Country School, St. Ann’s and St. David’s are undergoing renovations.

Of course the private school work is still dwarfed by expenses in the public system, which will  reportedly spend $6 billion on expansion and another $6 billion on repairs and upgrades in the five-year period ending in 2019, the WSJ reports.


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