Design Underway on Staten Island Charter School

By SCN Staff

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.—The design of a new, 800-student K-12 school campus on New York’s Staten Island for the group Integration Charter Schools (ICS) is now underway.

Slated for completion by Spring 2021, CetraRuddy is the architect on this project. CLJ Building Enterprises Inc. is the general contractor.

Occupying three full levels of the eight-story Corporate Commons Three mixed-use complex, the new ICS facilities dramatically expand the organization’s ability to serve its growing student body. This project will also bring three ICS communities—the John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School (grades K-12), Nicotra Early College Charter School (grades 8-12), and New Ventures Charter School (grades 10-12)—together into a single campus for the first time.

CetraRuddy Principal Theresa M. Genovese said that the new work for ICS reflects a growing trend of incorporating urban schools within mixed-use communities.

“The architecture and interior design evolve from our firm’s guiding principles, creating a welcoming, flexible, and highly functional environment that nurtures and supports a range of diverse learning styles and educational needs, and that also enables teachers to do their best work.”

The project also exemplifies emerging best practices for contemporary K-12 learning environments. Key project elements include:

  • Sensitive integration within the larger mixed-use complex through a separate ground-floor student entry lobby and elevator bank, as well as the location of gyms, cafeterias, and other social spaces on the middle school floor to reduce noise impacts for other building tenants.
  • Facilities that support diverse learning styles, including a range of spaces for group and individual musical instruction, as well as a full commercial teaching kitchen and working rooftop farm for food-based educational programs. These uses also support student job training and internship opportunities at Corporate Commons Three’s onsite, not-for-profit restaurant.
  • A design approach emphasizing wellness for students and teaching staff alike.

Highlights include durable finishes in a calming neutral color palette; open corridors and classrooms oriented around the building’s perimeter for maximum natural daylight exposure; dedicated counseling “clusters” for each grade comprising a meeting room, counseling room and teacher workroom adjacent to classrooms; large central common spaces for each grade to encourage a sense of community and belonging; a yoga center and meditation areas specifically for teachers; and the accessible green roof for nutrition-focused, skills-based education.

Added Genovese, “Our goal for the design of the new Integration Charter School was to create an expanded campus which inspires the students and faculty to succeed together as a community.”

The cost of this project is not being disclosed at this time.