Volume 21, Number 43 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | March 6 - 12, 2009

High School

Downtown Express photo by Vadim Shepel

Claremont Prep plans to move its middle school and open a new high school in 100 Church St. next year.

Claremont finds high school space

By Julie Shapiro

Claremont Prep’s search for a second home ended last week when the private school signed a lease for 200,000 square feet at 50 Park Pl.

Claremont will open middle and high school classes in the Park Pl. office building, also known as 100 Church St., in the fall of 2010. The space will allow Claremont to launch its high school, which will start on Broad St. next fall with 40 ninth graders and will eventually have a total of 480 students.

“We’re very excited,” Michael Koffler, C.E.O. of Met Schools, Claremont’s parent company, said in a phone interview. “It feels like we have a home.”

In signing the lease, Claremont’s plans for the expansion finally crossed the line from idea into reality, Koffler said.

Claremont will have its own entrance into the building on Park Pl. and will put a pool in the basement and classrooms and a cafeteria on the ninth and 10th floors. The gym and 25,000 square feet of semi-enclosed outdoor space will go on the 21st floor and a new 23rd floor. The building will have a digital library, two N.C.A.A.-size basketball courts, a black box theater and a recording studio.

Claremont, Lower Manhattan’s only non-sectarian private school, signed a 20-year lease on the space, with two 10-year extensions possible. Koffler would not disclose the lease terms but he said the asking rent was $40 a square foot. The entire project, including design and construction, will cost about $30 million, he added.

Steven Marrs, whose son is in kindergarten at Claremont, was glad to hear the school had decided on a place to expand.

“If it’s anything like the school that’s there right now…there are very few facilities in the city that will rival it,” Marrs said.

Marrs’ son has one of the shortest commutes of any Claremont student — he lives on Broad St. a block away from the school. Marrs hopes his son will attend the middle school starting in fifth grade, and he is glad Claremont is separating the younger and older kids. Marrs said he wouldn’t mind the slightly longer commute up to Park Pl.

“That’s not too far,” Marrs said, especially since many families come from the Upper East and West Sides.

Koffler said one of the new building’s standout features would be a digital library that surpasses what most high schools offer. The library will have a database of scanned research materials, which means multiple students can read the same book at the same time, said PD Cagliastro, a Claremont parent who is also the school’s spokesperson.

Claremont settled on 100 Church St. after looking at five or six other spaces, because the gutted floors have a “giant stadium feel, with beautiful views,” Cagliastro said.

Gruzen Samton Architects is designing the new space and will have the first renderings next week. Construction will begin soon, Koffler said.

Office tenants at 100 Church St., owned by The Sapir Organization, include Gotham Magazine. Claremont will have a separate entrance and elevators for its students.

Claremont needs the new space because the school has been growing and will soon fill the 125,000 square feet at 41 Broad St. that once seemed cavernously empty. Claremont opened in 2005 with 54 students and grew to 475 by last fall, including seven classes of kindergarten students. Once Claremont’s expansion is complete and the high school fills up, the school will have a total of 1,646 students between its two locations.

Annual tuition at Claremont ranges from $20,000 to $30,000, depending on the child’s age.

Before Koffler listed the new building’s many expensive, high-tech features, he said it’s not just about what is tangible.

As at Claremont’s lower school, Koffler said, “The most important thing is to have an environment that allows people to discover who they are.”







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