The Children’s Aid Society broke ground on a $45 million school and community center on Southern Boulevard.
The groundbreaking on the new six-story building that will be the future home of Children’s Aid College Prep Charter School occurred on Tuesday, March 31.
Attending were Deputy Mayor Richard Buery; Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.; Phoebe Boyer, Children’s Aid president; representatives from elected officials and dignitaries.
“This new space offers us the ability to expand our footprint in partnership with this vibrant community,” said Boyer, “It will be a central hub and resource for this community.”
The new building will contain 73,300-square-feet of space, and is expected to open in 2016.
“I cannot wait to walk our scholars into this building in August 2016,” said the charter school’s principal Ife Lenard.
Borough President Diaz said that he recalled working with elders in the Melrose community near the building site as a young man, and he remarked that Children’s Aid Society had been there through the community’s positive change.
The site at 1232 Southern Boulevard will also provide the community with a large variety of social service programs for the children and families.
“This building is about our children,” said Diaz, adding “We want an equal playing field and equal opportunities; that’s what Children’s Aid has given us.”
Currently the school serves 275 students at a Prospect Avenue location, said Lenard. By the time it opens, the plan is to serve 420 students in grades pre-k to 5.
“This community is well-deserved of having space for not only core-content classes, but also to be able to have the extracurricular activities that often come in after school programs,” she said of the new space.
For Burey, the groundbreaking was something of a homecoming because he preceded Boyer as CAS president, and helped to launch the project before he left to work for Mayor de Blasio.
According to a statement by CAS, this is one of Burey’s proudest career achievements.
Among the innovative design features of the building are materials that will obscure the rumble from the el train on Southern Boulevard, and a floor plan that breaks the tradition of a long hallway with rows of classrooms, according to multiple sources. It will contain a cafeteria and a gymnasium, and modern media center.
The comprehensiveness of all that is offered there should help further CAB’s goal of being with children from the ‘cradle to college,’ said Lenard.
There are also a number of other CAS facilities nearby, and they offer services including health, dental, and mental-health care, as well as services for children in foster care.
The building’s architect is FXFOWLE Architects, and Tekton Builders will do the construction.
Throughout the different phases of the project, CAS worked with Jonathan Rose Companies, a real estate policy, development, and project management firm.