UPPER WEST SIDE — A brand-new school building on West 61st Street that factored into a major district rezoning opened Wednesday ahead of the first day of school.
The Riverside School for Makers and Artists at 300 W. 61st St. will serve as the new home for P.S. 191 this year, after the school moved from its previous home down the street at 210 W. 61st St.
On Wednesday morning, P.S. 191 principal Lauren Keville was joined by parents, teachers and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new facility.
“Every time I walk out of that door, I cannot believe this is our building. It’s just mind-blowing,” Keville said at the ceremony. “And I cannot wait to see the look on our kids’ faces when they come on Day 1.”
RSMA is housed in a fully air-conditioned, 122,000-square foot building that accommodates 692 students from pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade. The school has revamped its curriculum to focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics as educational cornerstones, with the building providing students with art and music rooms, as well as science labs to encourage hands-on learning.
Andrew Chu, the school’s School Leadership Team co-chair, said the school will now focus on education that includes a dedicated maker program and workshop.
“As our new name suggests, we choose to measure our own success by how many students we can inspire to become creators and collaborators in their own ways,” Chu said.
The school is also introducing a Mandarin program for pre-K and kindergarten students starting in January, according to the school’s PTA president Charles Taylor.
Amir Nickens, who submitted the winning design for RSMA’s new logo, has been with P.S 191 since his pre-K days and is now entering eighth grade at the new building.
“This school is like a second home to me,” he said. “If I ever have a problem, no matter how big or small, there would always be someone willing to help you solve it.”
Nickens added that he was excited about being in the first class to graduate from the new school.
“This is the only school I’ve ever known and loved," he said. "I basically grew up here."