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Manhattan Country School Moving to UWS as Mannes College Heads Downtown

By Emily Frost | February 18, 2015 5:11pm
 The Manhattan Country School will move to a space vacated by Mannes College on West 85th Street in 2016. 
Manhattan Country School Moving to UWS
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The private Manhattan Country School is moving from its Upper East Side home to a West 85th Street space currently occupied by Mannes College The New School for Music, which is headed Downtown. 

Roughly 200 pre-K through eighth-grade students are moving across the park from their current 7 E. 96th St. location to a building at 150 W. 85th Street owned by Mannes College, the music school run by The New School, administrators at both schools confirmed.

The news was first reported by the Wall Street Journal

Meanwhile, Mannes College will relocate to the main New School building in Greenwich Village, where it will join the college's other campuses amid a renovation of the space.

The nearly 50-year-old Manhattan Country School projects it will make the move in time for the start of the September 2016 school year. It announced this past September that it had found a buyer who purchased its five-story East 96th Street townhouse for more than the school's $23 million asking price. 

"The Mannes School of Music will vacate its location when its lease runs out in August 2015, giving us a year to renovate," the school told parents in an online update. 

The move will mean a significant space increase for Manhattan Country School, from its current 13,845-square-foot building to 27,044 square feet over six stories on West 85th Street. 

The school reportedly wants to double its population, but declined to comment on the rationale for the move. 

MCS administrators applied to the Board of Standards and Appeals in early January for a variance to increase the height of the West 85th Street building for "programmatic needs," they stated in their application. A hearing has not yet been scheduled, and neither the BSA nor the school would comment on the specifics of the expansion.  

Mannes College is moving to The New School's Arnhold Hall at 55 W. 13th St. in order to be closer to other New School branches in Union Square, said Richard Kessler, executive dean for performing arts at The New School. 

The music school will move in during the second week of August, when the first phase of renovations planned for Arnhold Hall are finished, he said. 

The renovations include creating a theater on the lobby level for performances designed to engage people walking by the window, he said. 

The revamped performing arts hub will also include a "gut renovation of four floors, to customize it for performing arts," Kessler said.

Future plans for the building include creating an orchestra-size performance space, he added. 

MCS's plans will be discussed by Community Board 7 on Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. at the board's 250 W. 87th St. offices.