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GCACS to use St. Helena Hall and Nat Silverberg Gym for classes

Scanlan rents out space to charter school

Bronx Times
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The upcoming school year for students at Grand Concourse Academy Charter School will mean moving to a new campus.

Presently located between the Grand Concourse and Walton Avenue, GCACS was established in 2004 to serve kindergarten through fifth grade and sees their students exceed others in the common core curriculum.

This charter school was recently given the green light to expand services to eight grade, but needed a space to accommodate these additional students.

Monsignor Scanlan High School, on the Hutchinson River Parkway, will lease its under utilized St. Helena Hall and Nat Silverberg Gym to GCACS in the upcoming school year.

“We’ve been a ‘grade A charter school’ for over 11 years,” Michael Simonetti, GCACS senior business associate informed. “The current school doesn’t offer enough space for our expansion and this is a great opportunity for urban students to attend school in a safe, gated community where they can learn and grow as individuals.”

He added GCACS will move up a grade each year and by 2017, the school will provide educational services for grades kindergarten through eighth.

GCACS student’s first day at MSHS’s campus is slated for Friday, September 11 at 8:30 a.m.

According to Simonetti, parents interested in enrolling their children into the charter school should apply online at www.gcacs.org.

He said that candidates from Bronx District 8 will be considered a priority on the wait list.

Given different schedules and calenders, MSHS and GCACS students will not have any interaction.

In 1949, MSHS was founded as two schools known then as St. Helena’s High School of Boys and St. Helena’s School for Girls.

The schools were established by Monsignor Arthur Scanlan, St. Helena Church’s founding pastor, each occupying its own separate building.

Both schools were renamed after Scanlan in 1972 and merged into one coeducational institution four years later, leaving St. Helena Hall empty for decades.

The five-story high St. Helena Hall can house 600 to 700 students and will be used as the main facility for 450 GCACS students.

Renovations for this building are now underway and include a fresh coat of paint, polished floors, installation of a new first floor rest room and new furniture.

Simonetti explained St. Helena Hall will house technology and science labs as well as art and music rooms.

In addition, GCACS will utilize the Nat Silverberg Gym’s top floor as four kindergarten classrooms that will house 25 to 26 students each and have two teachers per classroom and the bottom floor for physical education and athletic activities.

MSHS students will now utilize the Gallagher Gym for their sports events and gym classes.

Simonetti said Nat Silverberg Gym will also provide GCACS students an opportunity to participate in theater and other cultural activities.

He added GCACS is hoping to have track, soccer, and basketball teams at their new homestead.

GCACS will offer an extended after-school program at Nat Silverberg Gym.

At a Monday, June 22 board meeting, school officials discussed the relocation project’s progress and said renovations are set for completion before September.

Updated 5:00 pm, July 9, 2018
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