HESCHEL RENOVATES

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The Abraham Joshua Heschel School won community board approval to construct a new building for its early education, lower and middle school divisions. The 135,000-square-foot facility is planned for the corner of West 61st Street and West End Avenue, adjacent to Heschel High School.

Community Board 7 overwhelmingly passed a resolution at its Feb. 2 meeting in support of the school’s application to the city’s Board of Standards and Appeals. Heschel is asking to waive regulations concerning height, setbacks and rear yard obstructions for the new building.

The building will create a single campus for all of the school’s students; currently, the early childhood program and lower school divisions are on West 89th Street, and the middle school is on West 91st Street. The new facility will also include a cafeteria, expanded gym and auditorium. Heschel plans to expand the number of classes in each grade, from two to three.

School representatives delivered presentations to Board 7’s Land Use Committee three times over the last several months, as the design underwent revisions. The committee passed a resolution unanimously approving the application at its Jan. 20 meeting.

“There has been some concern about noise,” said the board’s district manager, Penny Ryan. “But the school has been working very closely with the community to address the issue.”

Carol Weintraub, director of Institutional Advancement at Heschel, said she felt that the community has been accommodating.

“There has been a lot of community support and a real positive response toward the construction plan,” she said.

Construction is scheduled to begin as soon as this coming fall. The new building is planned to open for the 2012-2013 school year, and will ultimately be able to accommodate more than a thousand students.

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