UPPER EAST SIDE — The Marymount School for girls unveiled plans this week to construct a new state-of-the-art sustainable school building that will allow the school to consolidate its programs into one facility.
The 229-foot-tall building planned for 115 E. 97th St. will feature green terraces, gardens and possibly a solar panel system, according to Rick Cook of CookFox Architects, who presented the plan at a public meeting on Thursday.
"From the very beginning we decided that this building should be a laboratory for having smarter buildings for the next generation," he said. "Hopefully this will be a real state-of-the-art poster child for how to design in cleaner, greener way."
The building will also be LEED-certified, using all the newest green technology, Cook added.
"We're exploring all the good green technology and we'll use the ones that make most sense and and are funded," he said.
The proposed 13-story building will include science labs, art studio space, a kiln room, a cafeteria, kitchen, classrooms, study rooms and student common area, according to plans filed with the Department of Buildings on Sept. 29.
A new auditorium, media lab, gym and fitness studios will be located in the basement level, the plans show.
Marymount's Upper School will be moved into the building once construction is completed, which will likely take about three years. The school's theater and athletics program will also be moved into the building, so that they will no longer have to lease spaces in other parts of the city. Between the two programs, the school currently has leases at 29 locations.
The school also owns four buildings across the Upper East Side and once the new facility is completed, its current Upper School building on East 97th Street will no longer be used.
Cook fielded questions from residents in the area about the impact that construction and the completed building would have on the neighborhood. He assured them the school would monitor the air for dust from construction work.
Shelly Friedman, the school's land-use attorney, added that the school will complete an environmental impact assessment before plans move forward, and that the school will follow the city regulations and have an open-door policy for those concerned about the work.
Jules Feinman, a resident and member of 97-98 Lexington & Park Ave. Neighbors, said he liked the project but was worried about the shadow the building would cast on the neighborhood. Currently, the lot is empty and is being used by the school as a tennis court.
"It is a really big building," Feinman said. "That air space is kind of everybody's solace and respite and the light is already blocked from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. This is pretty much going to kill all morning light. I'm supportive but this is something you need to consider. We’re giving up a lot."
The proposal will be submitted to the city's Board of Standards and Appeals in November, and the school promised to host more public meetings about the project to hear the community's concerns in the future.
"We are not building glass towers in the neighborhood," said Marymount Headmistress Concepcion Alvar. "I have every confidence that together we can make this not a project that shines to the detriment of the rest of the community, but a project that will be so right for community because we had conversation."
If everything goes to plan, Marymount officials hope to break ground by 2017.