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Staten Island School's Expansion Will Focus on Performing Arts

By Nicholas Rizzi | May 21, 2013 7:46am
 The city will build a new addition to Susan Wagner High School, which will add several performing art spaces to the school and eight new classrooms.
New Addition to Susan Wagner High School
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EMERSON HILL — A new addition to Susan Wagner High School will bring new space for performing arts, including a small concert venue and a 250 seat performance space.

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, Borough President James Molinaro and Councilman James Oddo announced the addition to the Emerson Hill school at an assembly on Monday.

“This is an exciting day,” said Walcott. “We’re talking about something that will be exciting for students moving forward year after year after year, long after we’re gone.”

The nearly $13 million project will also build eight classrooms that will add 336 new seats to the school, a rehearsal space and a black-box theater. It's expected to be completed in 2016.

Walcott said the school has a great performing arts program and the new facility will help it continue to succeed.

“Wagner has an excellent performing arts program,” he said. “I came here for the holiday festival very quietly over the holidays and was extremely impressed by the performances of the students. It’s important to have a factility that matches the need and that’s what we’re able to do.”

At an assembly in the school’s auditorium, Molinaro said when he took office he promised to help three groups of people — seniors, the disabled and children. The extension to the school will let him fulfil his commitment to children right before his final term ends.

“This something very, very important to me,” he said.

“This gave me the opportunity to complete that triangle."

The new pavilion will be two stories with a basement and will include air conditioning. The project was funded with money including $7.5 million from Molinaro and $500,000 from Oddo.

“Now the infrastructure is going to catch up with your talent,” Oddo said at the assembly.

During the assembly, seniors told how great an impact the school’s performing arts programs have had on their lives.

“Being a part of this program just changes your life,” said Joanne Beloy, 18, who plays saxophone in the school’s band.

“When I leave high school, I’m going to remember this and I won't forget. And I’m definitely going to come back and see this.”