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All-Girls School Plans 3-Story Addition With Gym, Performing Arts Studios

By Heather Holland | November 11, 2014 8:33am
  Chapin School is planning to build 3 stories higher with a new gym to host basketball games.
Chapin School
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UPPER EAST SIDE — The private all-girls Chapin School wants to build a glassy new addition to make room for a bigger gym, a robotics studio and an extra dining hall. 

The K-12 school at 100 East End Ave., which has about 750 students, is applying for zoning approval to add three more stories on top of its existing eight-story building as part of a project that will cost at least $1 million, records show.

The new floors will include a gym that is big enough to host basketball games, as well as locker rooms and performance arts rooms, according to plans filed with the Board of Standards and Appeals on Oct. 17.

The school currently has four small gyms but all are less than 7,280 feet, which is the minimum size for basketball games, according to the proposal filed with the city.

“The enlargement is required to meet Chapin’s essential programmatic needs in athletics and performing arts,” the school wrote in its application.

“None of the existing gymnasiums meet the [National Federation of High School Associations] standards and, after examining multiple options, the project architects determined that it is not feasible to enlarge any one of the gyms to meet these standards."

As part of the project, the school will also renovate its existing space, adding a dining hall specifically for the lower school on the ground floor so that students won’t have to eat in shifts throughout the day, according to the proposal. Students currently start eating lunch as early as 10:40 a.m.

The expansion will also give Chapin's robotics program its own studio. The program is now based in a hallway, but needs more space for storage and practice, the proposal says.

Chapin's plan will require special permits to build bigger than the current zoning allows. While the site is only zoned for buildings that are up to 75 feet tall, Chapin is proposing a 185-foot building, records show.

The school also hopes to add more square footage to the building than is currently allowed, by increasing the permitted floor area ratio from 5.1 to 7.74.

The expansion will help Chapin "fulfill [its] mission to provide a well-rounded education that pushes its students to innovate, take risks within a safe environment and become true leaders in the local and global community," the school said in its application.

Chapin most recently expanded in 2006, when the nonprofit school added three floors and a mezzanine on top of the existing brick building.

The estimated cost of the new expansion is likely to change before the school breaks ground, according to a Chapin spokeswoman.

The project will be reviewed by Community Board 8's Land Use committee on Nov. 12. The Board of Standards and Appeals usually schedules a public hearing 60 days after the community board review and then will make a final decision on the application, according to spokesman Ryan Singer.