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Renovations at 150 West 85th Street Are Underway

Friday, October 2, 2015

When we discovered the building at 150 West 85th Street, it was easy to envision it as the future home of Manhattan Country School. Standing in the terrazzo lobby, admiring the grand marble staircase, it immediately felt like home. At nearly twice the square footage, it would provide the room we need to grow and its location on the Upper West Side would allow us to continue to serve a diverse community. Close proximity to Central Park meant that exploring nature could continue to be an integral part of our curriculum.

The renovations that will bring the architectural plan of ABA Studio, a firm experienced in designing educational spaces, to life has begun. Walls have been torn down and carted way, which has opened up the floors to become vibrant learning spaces for our Lower and Upper School students.  

The renovation of 150 West 85th Street will create the space needed to support MCS’ planned growth from 200 to 400 students between 2016 and 2020. This expansion is part of MCS 2020, a strategic plan approved by our Board of Trustees in 2011.

The first and second floors of the 85th Street building will remain virtually unchanged. That allows us to retain the marble staircase and architectural details that are reminiscent of 7 East 96th Street.

Construction will take place in three phases, aligned carefully with the increased enrollment planned for 2016, 2018 and 2020. The first phase began as planned in late August and is scheduled to be completed in time to open school in September 2016. Phase one work includes creating a courtyard space on the fourth floor that includes a transparent floor that will serve as a skylight to the floor below and developing spaces for classrooms, a library/media room, a gym/music/multipurpose room, woodshop, kitchen and administrative offices.

Phase two (2018) will focus on creating classrooms on the sixth floor, while phase three (2020) will add a penthouse to the top of the building, which will become the permanent home for science and art classrooms, as well as an outdoor rooftop garden.

A Community Meeting on October 1 provided an opportunity for parents to get an update on renovation, move and growth plans. Parents also had the chance to submit questions that will be used to craft Frequently Asked Questions documents to keep the community informed. The 2016 Parents Transition Committee will also use these questions to engage the MCS community with our move.

If you were unable to attend the Community Meeting and have questions about the building renovation and move, please submit them to mcs_vision2020@manhattancountryschool.org.