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Downtown Preschool Relocating to the Village to Avoid Future Flooding

By Andrea Swalec | January 7, 2013 11:20am | Updated on January 7, 2013 1:49pm

MANHATTAN — An elite Manhattan preschool that had planned to open a Financial District location is heading to higher ground after the mass destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The head of the Mandell School said Monday morning the uptown institution will open a new preschool location this fall inside the Archive Building on Greenwich and Barrow streets in the West Village, which hired experts determined would be a "safe" location, after their planned Broad Street location sustained water and electrical damage. 

"[Hurricane Sandy] caused us to step back and think about our presence in the Downtown area," school head Gabriella Rowe said, noting the school had been designing the planned 30 Broad St. location when the storm hit. 

School officials and outside experts looked at changes to the building's infrastructure that would protect the school from future storm damage, Rowe said.

Ultimately, though, "dealing with those decisions, plus opening a preschool seemed like a little too much to conquer at once," she said. 

When the Mandell School, which has preschool locations on the Upper East Side and in Lincoln Square, was approached about space within the landmarked Archive Building, school officials opted to open the school there instead, Rowe said. 

"This decision was one that enabled us to fulfill the commitment to Downtown parents that we take so seriously and at the same time epitomize everything you think of as a Mandell preschool," she said. 

The new school for children ages 2, 3 and 4 will have the same "warmth" and "architectural feel" as the Mandell School's original Upper West Side location, with a large wooden door and bay windows, said Rowe, who has led the school for 15 years.

"It will have that … small, intimate feel that a lot of parents are looking for." 

The new Mandell school will serve 40 to 50 students at first, and ramp up to a capacity of 150 students, spread between different days and morning and afternoon sessions.

The Mandell School, which serves students from preschool through eighth grade among its three current locations, was founded on the Upper West Side in 1939.

Annual preschool tuition ranges from about $12,000 for toddlers who come to school only a couple of days a week, to just under $22,000 for children who attend five days a week, Rowe said.