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Mary McDowell School To Gain New Library and Classrooms With Expansion


COBBLE HILL — Mary McDowell Friends School is wrapping up the construction of its new upper school building with a new library and additional classrooms, which are expected to arrive next fall.

Construction began two years ago with a gutted renovation of the upper school building, located at 23 Sidney Place, formerly home to St. Charles Borromeo School.

The school building currently comprises of two floors, with the gymnasium and nurse's office on the first floor and classrooms and offices on the second. This main school building is currently being used by grades 9-11.  

Now, Mary McDowell is poised to complete renovation of the adjacent, former rectory building, which will house the school’s library, administrative offices, an art studio, and science lab, said Debbie Zlotowitz, head of school.

Before construction began, the expansion of the Quaker school, which currently serves students K-11 with learning disabilities, was happening steadily, explained Zlotowitz. With increased demand for schools dedicated to children with learning disabilities, the school was accepting more and more students.

“There is a great demand for more schools for students with learning disabilities, but there weren’t enough good places to go,” said Zlotowitz.

The rectory building will not be open to students until next fall, but the school is already working on linking the main upper school building to the rectory building with a new elevator and floor-to-floor adjoining staircase. The work has been approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, said Zlotowitz.

Next summer, the school will complete renovations to the rectory building, and begin serving its first class of 12th grade students by fall of next year.

The construction crew has already started pouring concrete and creating the underpinnings that will house the elevator, the school announced in a newsletter this month.

“Students love [the new building],” said Zlotowitz. “Everybody is blown away by the beauty of it and how fast we are doing it.

It’s very exciting to be the first K-12 Quaker School for children with learning disabilities in America.”