UPPER EAST SIDE — A plan to expand elite all-girls academy The Hewitt School by adding a rooftop and expanding its solarium got the green light from Community Board 8 Wednesday, marking the latest in a series of private school expansions in the area.
The school, which costs more than $40,000 per year, currently occupies buildings at 45 E. 75th St. and 44-46 E. 76th St., which are joined at the back through a connector. The school also recently purchased a townhouse at 42 E. 76th St.
According to a presentation by Hewitt representatives to the board, the expansion plan involves a total interior renovation of 42 E. 76th St. The school also plans to build a 9-foot rooftop addition to the building and to expand what is currently being used as a solarium at the back of the building by adding a story to it and extending it by 5 feet into the yard.
The renovations required two zoning change approvals — one for the height of the addition and the other for the extension into the backyard.
Hewitt representatives said that the expansion was necessary to meet the programming needs of the school. The plan will add more than 5,000 square feet of classroom space to the school, including modern science labs, rooms for performing arts classes and a digital media lab, according to a school official.
"It will help us to develop our STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program," said David Pearson, chairman of the Board of Trustees Facilities Committee." With the new fabrication lab, the girls will be able to work on skills such an engineering."
Since 2005, Hewitt’s student body has grown by 17 percent, increasing the school’s need for classroom space, officials said. However, the school said it has no plans to further expand the student body and is committed to maintaining the current class and grade sizes.
The Hewitt School is one in a series of tony Upper East Side academies that have recently sought to expand their facilities.
Community Board 8 approved a similar expansion plan for St. David’s School in February 2014. However, the Dalton School’s plan to build a two-story rooftop addition met with the board’s disapproval in September 2013. The Dalton School ultimately received approval from the city’s Board of Standard’s and Appeals for the necessary zoning changes.