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Landmarked Recreation Center Approved to Become Year-Round Facility

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Highbridge Recreation Center is on its way to becoming a year-round facility after the city voted Tuesday to approve a plan for a new breezeway for the landmarked site

The Landmark and Preservation Commission unanimously approved a plan by students from the Design Workshop at Parsons The New School for Design to demolish a mezzanine and install new infill within the breezeway at the front of the building at 2301 Amsterdam Avenue, according to Parks and Parsons officials. 

Although the building dates back to the mid-1930s, the mezzanine was built during the early 1980s, according to the LPC. 

“Many of the commissioners reiterated how the student’s work was above a lot of most of the projects they had seen today, both in the presentation and quality of the proposal,” said Alfred Zollinger, director of the Design Workshop at the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons The New School for Design.

Charles McKinney, the principal urban designer for the Parks Department, said he was “very pleased” with the approval and excited to see the collaboration between the students and Parks recognized.

“The Commissioners remarked on the high value of students learning the design profession by working with the Parks Design Division on such an important project,” he wrote in an email statement.

A spokeswoman from the LPC said the "Commissioners found the design to be in keeping with the character of the complex."

Approval from the LPC was needed for the Art Moderne-style pool complex designed that was designed by architect Aymar Embury II, landscape architects Gilmore D. Clarke and Allyn R. Jennings, and civil engineers W. Earle Andres and William H. Latham, according to the May 8th LPC agenda.

The complex was one of 11 city pools built in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA).

According to Parks, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez allocated funds to "pay for the work that has to be performed by contractors including plumbing and electrical work." The department is now "continuing to raise private funds and material donations to purchase materials and rent tools." 

The group hopes to begin construction on the site this summer.