Collegiate School, Modernizing Move

Rendering for West 62nd and West End Avenue

The Collegiate School, the country’s oldest independent all-boys private school, has operated at a historic three-building campus on West 78th Street and Broadway since 1892.

After debating for nearly seven years, the institute decided in 2013 to leave their century-old home, and make plans to move to a new, modern campus at West 62nd Street and West End Avenue. This will be the school’s 17th move since their founding in 1628.

As much as this $118 million move for the Collegiate School is to modernize the school, there are many people, including school officials, that don’t want the transition to occur. “There is this pride in how limited the facilities are,” Headmaster Lee Levison, tells Wall Street Journal. Regardless of the building’s condition, Levison continues to express that the school generated “some of the most creative and talented high school graduates in the country” — among the school’s alumni are John F. Kennedy, Jr., David Duchovny, and Chris Schlank. Collegiate School hired Gluck+ to design the new facility and is scheduled to move into their “shiny new building” by 2016.

But what about the old property?

According to The Real Deal, the institute closed for $125 million — originally priced at $97 million — on the property’s purchase on August 21. Then four days later, the Collegiate Churches of New York proceeded to file plans on a residential conversion of the 198,000 square feet campus, replacing the school’s existing 12-story building (260 West 78th Street) with a 18-story residential building. What will used to be the historic school, will now house 66 residential units across the new structure and a preserved building (378 West End Avenue).

Designing this project is COOKFOX, an architectural studio dedicated to a vision of integrated environmentally responsive design. The architecture will be inspired by Upper West Side, itself, by retaining the “terraced planted setbacks” fashion. According to the filing, there will be four duplex units in each of the apartments — the top-floor duplex will feature an outdoor roof space — and the amenities include an 18-car garage, game room, fitness center, and a library.

New York has a history of converting unlikely buildings into residential homes without having to destroy the old building; do you think they could do the same for this case?