Photo by Pericle Gheorghias
Bronx Charter Excellence

Charter school renovation and expansion in the Bronx receives LEED Silver certification

Sept. 14, 2020
The Bronx Charter School for Excellence serves more than 800 students in grades K to 8.

The renovation and expansion of the Bronx Charter School for Excellence in New York City has received LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The school was established in 2004 in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx and serves more than 800 students in grades K to 8.

The project consisted of a new, seven-story, 35,000-square foot tower; renovation of an existing 10,000-square foot, two-story building; a 4,500-square-foot, two-story addition to the existing structure; and the build-out of a 4,780-square foot, double-height gymnasium in the basement and ground floor of the tower.

The tower, a steel structure with a pile foundation, houses a cafeteria with a teaching kitchen, usable roofs, a student lounge with accessible deck, traditional classrooms, and a high-school grade science laboratory. A key feature of the tower is an impressive full-sized, two story gym, which extends the full height of both the basement and first floor and is visible through a full height glass partitions in the main lobby.

The design seeks tp maximize daylighting and views throughout the building without compromising energy efficiency. To minimize the need for artificial lighting, the ground floor lobby, cafeteria, and classrooms facing the street are wrapped in a glass storefront and curtain wall systems to admit natural light into the interiors.

Lighting is provided by high-efficiency LED fixtures provided with light sensor controls. The sensors provide different levels of light depending on proximity to the windows.

To reduce heat gain from direct sunlight, a sunshade system is attached to window frames on the south elevation. The use of low-flow lavatories and toilets has resulted in a significant reduction in the consumption of potable water.

The roof is a reflective membrane that will reduce the heat island effect.

The lobby has a recycled content poured-concrete floor. The gymnasium floor is made of Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood. Other floors throughout the building are vinyl composition tile and glazed ceramic tile, both of which contain recycled content.

Bronx Excellence has amended its curriculum to integrate the LEED sustainability concepts embodied in the new building into various grade-appropriate New York State Science standards. For example, kindergarten students will collect old crayons and melt them into new ones while learning how recycled materials benefit the environment.

The architect is CTA Architects.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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