Bay Ridge Prep – a co-ed, K-12 college preparatory school in the neighborhood – has unveiled its plans to build a six-story, 60,000-square-foot facility at 429 89th Street.
The school, established in 1998 by co-founders Dr. Charles Fasano and Dr. Michael Dealy, began with a student body of just 35. Today, the school boasts an impressive 400 students, but, according to Fasano, both its home-base at 8101 Ridge Boulevard and its second-coming at 7420 Fourth Avenue were quick to outgrow themselves.
“We currently have five different facilities that are servicing our high school,” he told this paper. “We’ve outgrown the building that we’re in, and we’ve tried to compensate for that by taking on other spaces but, in the meantime, we’ve been looking for a home that we can consolidate into.
“We had an opportunity with some land that became available in Bay Ridge, and we’ve done a feasibility study for the last year and a half,” Fasano went on, “and it looks like this is something that is doable for us.”
Pending approval from the city, the space – which will house over two dozen classrooms, a 200-seat theater, a full-size gymnasium, science labs, a fitness room, two squash courts and dedicated space for music, dance and the visual arts, and more – will become the sole building for Bay Ridge Prep’s upper grades.
The lower grades, Fasano said, will continue to learn out of Bay Ridge Prep’s Ridge Boulevard building, though all other leases and rental agreements will be terminated with those funds currently going towards rent pouring back into the new project.
“There’s been a lot of excitement and a lot of support,” he said, noting that more than $2.5 million had already been raised mid-April towards a $5 million capital campaign to fund the project (dubbed “Imagine Bay Ridge Prep”). “Parents are not only excited about it but they’re helping to donate money towards making it happen.”
During the quiet phase of the campaign, trustees and a small group of families raised half of the campaign’s goal. The $5 million in fundraising, Fasano said, will go towards the down payment of the project, which is estimated to cost $20 million.
“We are at a crossroads,” noted Andrea Saadi, a current parent and member of the campaign executive committee. “We are currently space-constrained and forced to turn away students. A new building will allow us to grow enrollment and provide state-of-the-art facilities.”
Initial plans for the facility – which will also include a rooftop terrace featuring a garden and additional green space – were filed with the New York City Department of Buildings in March of this year, with a goal of opening the new building by September, 2018.
Until then, Bay Ridge Prep has promised to work with the Buildings Department, the New York City Board of Standards and Appeals, Community Board 10 and other stakeholders to ensure that the new schoolhouse will have a positive impact on the neighborhood – something Fasano seems sure of.
“We think this is obviously something that’s great for the school, and I think that what’s good for the school is good for the community,” he said, stressing that one of the things he is most excited about is the idea of partnering with local theater groups who would want to utilize the new facility’s theater, or other groups just looking to host events. “We’re looking to make it a really flexible space.”
Fasano said he is hoping his team will break ground on the project by the end of this year.
For more information on the project, visit www.imagine.bayridgeprep.org.