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TriBeCa Kids Open New P.S. 150 Music Room With A Song

By Julie Shapiro on April 2, 2012 1:35pm 

TRIBECA — The young musicians at P.S. 150 can now sing as loudly as they want to — thanks to a sunny new music room with insulated doors that opened Monday.

The new room — a 1,000-square-foot multipurpose space on the ground floor of the tiny Greenwich Street school — used to be cramped and dark, with folded cafeteria tables and boxes of supplies piled up along the walls.

Using a nearly $400,000 grant from Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's office and the City Council, volunteers from SHoP Architects transformed the room into a bright, airy space with hidden storage, fabric acoustic paneling, gold stage curtains, a mirrored wall and green-accented décor.

"It's a lot better compared to the other one," said Ella Curtis, 10, a Battery Park City resident and fourth-grader at the school. "There's lots of space — it's less squished."

Ella and her classmates performed an inaugural concert in the new music room Monday morning, including the jazzy tune "New Room," which P.S. 150 music teacher Tony Kunin wrote for the occasion.

Kunin, who has been working at the school for 13 years, said he was "blown away" when he saw the new music room, which has much better acoustics than the former concrete-ceilinged space.

"It's amazing," Kunin said. "It's just an absolute dream come true."

The color scheme isn't the only green thing in the new space, as the renovation also included environmentally friendly materials including bamboo cabinets, rubber floors and a special paint that has no smell as it dries, architects from SHoP said.

To make more space for music and dance classes, the architects broke down a wall that led to a storage closet and created a small curtained stage for student performances. The music room also still serves as the school's cafeteria and auditorium as well.

Stringer contributed $300,000 to the renovation and City Councilwoman Margaret Chin added nearly $96,000. SHoP Architects, whose principals Corie and Bill Sharples have two sons at P.S. 150, donated time to the project, as did Buro Happold engineers.

At Monday morning's "curtain opening" ceremony at the Greenwich Street school, P.S. 150 principal Maggie Siena thanked the many people who worked on the nearly nine-month project.

"It really does take a village to build a music room," she said.

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