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NEW YORK CITY-Gov. Eliot Spitzer, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver revealed plans to build a new environmentally friendly elementary/middle school in Battery Park City. The school will add 950 seats to serve pre-kindergarten through the eighth grades and will also include 100 seats for special education students.

According to a release, in recent years, the residential population in Lower Manhattan has increased dramatically, which has also contributed to sizable growth in student enrollment in the area’s schools. In response, the state is providing the last vacant building site in Battery Park City at no cost to the city to begin building the new school. The land will be made available through the Battery Park City Authority, which owns the site.

“Lower Manhattan has become a premier residential destination, and that trend has also placed a toll on its public schools,” notes Spitzer in a prepared release. “The donation of this land for a new elementary/middle school will ease overcrowding in Lower Manhattan classrooms and improve overall education conditions by providing students with a healthy sustainable environment where they learn and thrive. The project will also complement the unprecedented $1.8-billion increase in education funding we provided in this year’s state budget.”

Bloomberg says that the “new facility will be the first green school building in keeping with our commitment to incorporate energy-saving measures such as increased insulation and the use of natural light. Not only will the students have a state-of-the-art learning facility, but they will also be learning in environmentally-friendly surroundings.”

According to a statement, the approximately 125,000-sf school will reduce energy costs by at least 25% through the use of day lighting in all instructional rooms, energy-efficient lighting controlled by occupancy sensors, increased insulation in the exterior walls, high efficiency condensing boilers, Energy Star-equivalent equipment, carbon-dioxide sensors in large common spaces, and photovoltaics, which are solar panels that convert sun light directly into electricity. The school will enhance indoor air quality with mold-resistant and low volatile organic compound-emitting materials in the construction. It will conserve water by using 40% less potable water through the use of high efficiency plumbing fixtures. The school will also recycle 80% of construction waste and use 12% recycled content in construction materials.

The school, which will be located at 55 Battery Pl., will be fully air conditioned and have 30 classrooms; a kitchen and cafeteria; medical suite; auditorium; library; wireless Internet access; art, science, and music rooms; a 5,400-sf gymnasium, and a 1,500-sf exercise room with rooftop educational and recreational spaces. Construction is expected to begin in June and expected to be completed by September 2010. The new school is being designed by Dattner Architects.

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