The private St. David’s School on the Upper East Side is pushing for a green light from the local Community Board to proceed with a planned $60 million renovation that includes a one-story rooftop addition.
The K-8 boys’ school, which counts John F. Kennedy Jr. among its alumni, plans to gut renovate its Graham House, a former residential hotel at 22 East 89th Street that the school purchased 20 years ago. Partially converted for use as classroom space, the building still has a number of residential tenants. The school now says it needs additional space to house its music and theater programs, as well as science labs, and would convert the building to house a small gym for physical education, science and robotics labs, a new art room, performance space and regulation-size gym on the roof.
“The school is just under tremendous pressure in terms of space,” St. David’s headmaster David O’Halloran told DNAinfo. “Right now, space is driving our programming when it should be the other way around.”
Already approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the plan must now secure a zoning variance from the city’s planning department before the school can legally make the changes.
The proposal has come under fire for allegedly pushing out some Graham House tenants. Officials at the school say they notified tenants of the plan long before the school was legally bound to do so — and offered to assist with relocation.
Representatives from the school are presenting the plan to Community Board 8’s Land Use Committee Wednesday, in hopes of securing approval to change the building’s full use to that of a school and to expand some sections. Community Board 8 chairman Nick Viest declined to comment to DNAinfo until after Wednesday’s meeting. (City Planning traditionally takes cues from the Community Board in such matters, but is not required to follow the board’s lead).
The nearby Dalton School similarly pushed for a two-story rooftop addition to house its science and technology initiatives and wants to add a rooftop greenhouse in a measure approved by ity’s Board of Standards and Appeals last month. [DNAinfo] — Julie Strickland