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New Settlement Community Center open for business

Bronx Times

The New Settlement Community Center is open for business.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was recently held to officially announce the opening of the community center in Mt. Eden.

The center is part of a 172,000 sq. ft. campus with two state-of-the art public schools with pre-Kindergarden through grade 12, special education classrooms, a health clinic, gymnasiums, an auditorium, cafeteria, library and outdoor play spaces.

The community school model at Jerome Avenue at 172nd Street, provides extended day programming for students from the new schools as well as other area schools and welcomes residents of all ages to participate in day and evening programs offered at the center’s aquatic center, dance studio, green roof learning terrace and cooking classroom.

The center also has communal spaces and multipurpose rooms, and is expected to eventually serve 1,100 students from the new schools, community, and surrounding schools.

The center sits on a busy commercial corridor of Jerome Avenue in a densely populated section of the southwest Bronx, part of the poorest congressional district in the country, with high rates of chronic illness and limited access to high quality recreational spaces, including places to swim, and to programs that promote healthy living.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the center will greatly expand opportunities for youth and adults to access new health and wellness programs.

“The New Settlement Community Campus offers a model of integrated community and school programming with amenities rarely available in communities like Mt. Eden,” Diaz said. “From the 6-9th graders who are learning to swim for the very first time, to the teens and adults who are discovering dance, yoga and healthy eating, the students and community members and the Bronx have an outstanding new resource at the Center.”

The community and school programs are run by the New Settlement Apartments, a community-based affordable housing and youth development organization that works to provide programs to strengthen social and academic outcomes for youth.

The project is a public/private venture developed by Settlement Housing Fund, a nonprofit affordable housing and community builder, and its Bronx affiliate, New Settlement Apartments, in partnership with the NYC School Construction Authority.

Projections for the first year of operation call for more than 2,400 children and many hundreds of adults participating in programs and activities based at the new community center, with that number growing each year. By the fifth year, as many as 4,000 children and many of their family members will directly benefit from the Center’s increasingly comprehensive list of opportunities.

The New Settlement Community Campus broke ground in 2009 and opened on the first day of school this September, with a special visit by Mayor Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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