Haven Academy to be housed in ‘green building’

The building that will house Haven Academy Charter School will be a green marvel. Currently under construction at the site of a former warehouse, it will be one of the first “green” LEED-certified school buildings ever built in the city.

The New York Foundling, the social service agency that opened Haven Academy as a K-8 charter school in September 2009 with an incoming class of 136 students, is currently housed in school building across the street from the project, located at 170 Brown Place. The new building will unite both educational and social service opportunities offered by the Foundling at a single location.

Built over a 100 years ago, the rehabbed building will be LEED-certified Gold or Platinum when it is completed, its builders said. It nearly doubles the size of the building, by constructing around the sides on what had been vacant space, up to about 55,000 square-feet. It will house the school and all of New York Foundling’s children’s welfare services for the borough.

“It is all part of our vision to bring together our charter school, Haven Academy, with our Bronx child welfare services,” said Bill Baccaglini, executive director of New York Foundling. “The students at the school will have a unique demographic composition with one-third of the children from foster care, one-third in preventative services (the step before foster care), and a third that are Mott Haven community kids.”

Baccaglini said that the goal of the school would be to care to the unique needs of each of those different populations. By having their Bronx child welfare services in the same building, teachers in the school will be free to concentrate on the education. The school will someday contain about 350 students, and will expand by one grade per year.

“We are growing the school a grade per year, which is more costly for us because reimbursements are made per student,” Baccaglini stated. “We will not get too big, too fast. The Foundling’s board decided to move this school forward slowly. There will be a floor that will be empty next year, but that is all right. Studies show that charter schools rarely fail, but when they do, it is often because they try to grow too big, too fast.”

The new building, across the street from P.S.43 where the school is currently housed, includes a glassed in ‘play deck’ on the second floor dedicated to Luisa Doyle, the deceased former director of the Foundling’s children’s welfare services in the Bronx.

Reach reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742-3393 or procchio@cnglocal.com

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