By Brian J Pape, AIA
Are you thinking that you just read about the St. Luke’s school completing their expansion work, and now we’re seeing more construction work? You are right.
In 2020, St. Luke’s School did complete their classroom expansion, adding a couple of floors above the existing two-floor structure, which in the photo, looking east from Christopher Street to the Greenwich Street façade, shows the new additions above the red brick base. The new scaffolding in the photo protects the sidewalks along the southern portion of the school right up to the roof, at the original gymnasium building on the far right. The school also recently upgraded the playground at the corner lot of Christopher and Hudson Streets with new playground equipment and absorbant surfacing.
What is going on so soon after completing the additions? St. Luke’s presented their plans to LPC and CB2 Landmarks Committee earlier this year. Basically, the school is upgrading their roof play area, with a second stairway exit and protective framing for the play area, like an arch of netting (no more errant balls flying into the street!). The committee found the newly visible structures, being fairly transparent, to be visually acceptable. So, the sidewalk sheds are there until the roof work is complete.
St. Luke’s Church has been a part of this community since it was founded by the Episcopal Church in 1821, when the chapel was established as part of the Trinity Church parish. In 1927 a gymnasium was built for their children (it’s still there), and in 1956 a new school was built where the rowhouse rental units had been. Today, the Pre-K and K-8 school serves 342 students, with 50 teachers. This private school has annual tuitions of $50,140 for pre-school and $52,465 for upper grades, with some generous financial aid offered. The garden at the southeast corner of the block is a neighborhood treasure for everyone to enjoy.