Space-starved high school looks upward, to the roof

Gale Brewer speaking at a Jan. 15 meeting about the NYC iSchool’s new rooftop project.

Gale Brewer speaking at a Jan. 15 meeting about the NYC iSchool’s new rooftop project.

BY HEATHER DUBIN  |  Things are looking up at the NYC iSchool in Hudson Square — that is, to the building’s rooftop.

The school recently held a meeting to spark fundraising efforts for a plan for a newly designed roof.

The high-tech high school is co-located with Chelsea Technical and Career High School in a 100-year-old school building at Sixth Ave. and Broome St.

Speaking after the Jan. 15 meeting, Isora Bailey, principal of NYC iSchool, said that for the past five years, the students have been involved with plans to better utilize the roof.

The school lacks a gym, and the auditorium, which is outdated and slopes, is mostly used by Chelsea Tech, while the cafeteria cannot accommodate the full student body at one time.

At the meeting, students who worked on the design led the presentation for a group that included the parent association; Gale Brewer, the Manhattan Borough President; and Renee Schoonbeek, the vice president for planning and capital projects at the Hudson Square Connection business improvement district.

“It started as a class,” Bailey explained, “that developed into an after-school project, where kids spend time learning about [building] code, how to fundraise, and worked closely with architects.”

Students from all grades have worked on each phase of the project, and a former graduate returned to the school for the presentation. There is an e-mail list with project updates circulated to alumni students.

The current design calls for an indoor classroom space, outdoor meeting spaces and a rooftop greenhouse.

“The stairs actually access the roof,” Bailey said. “The students have done research on this. But the roof was originally built as a playground. There’s access up there — it needs to be updated so that we can use it.”

The architects are pro bono, but fundraising is needed to continue the project.

“If we can connect enough people,” she said, “we’ll get it done.”

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