The Convent of the Sacred Heart School of New York, perhaps the city’s most elite Catholic school and owner of the sublime building above, has closed on a much less attractive edifice down the street in which to implement a long-planned school expansion.
The school, which educates the girls of New York’s Catholic elite for more than $30,000 a year, is housed in two former mansions at One East 91st Street, at the corner of Fifth Avenue, but has long sought to expand:
"For over a decade Sacred Heart has been looking for more physical space to augment its already impressive list of academic and programmatic offerings," wrote Head of School Joseph J. Ciancaglini and Board Chair Cornie Thornburgh in a letter to the school community also posted on the school’s Web site. "The search led the administration and the board to consider an array of spaces within a twenty block radius of the school. Throughout the years we have looked at over a dozen options that for one reason or another – insufficient square footage, price – did not work for us. We are thrilled to announce that the search is now over and that we have begun a great work!"
And so on Sept. 26, the school signed the deed for the Verizon building at 406 East 91st Street, between First and York avenues, for $23 million. The school plans to use the space for top-flight athletic programming:
"The purchase and redevelopment of this new property will allow us to enrich our academic programs as well as create a first class athletic center. We will begin soon to plan the ways we will use this new space. Our hope is that it will include a topflight pool, a regulation sized gym for volleyball and basketball courts, additional space for specialized physical instruction, perhaps a rooftop artificial turf field and a shuttle bay for a school-owned bus. Moving our athletic program out of the two mansions will allow us to convert the current gym, weight room, gym offices and locker rooms into classrooms."