Courthouse Sentenced to Life as High School


BROOKLYN, NY - Construction is under way on a project to convert a former courthouse located at 283 Adams St. in downtown Brooklyn into two 500-seat high schools.

The project was designed by Gran Kriegel Associates on behalf of the New York City School Construction Authority. M.A. Angeliades Inc. is serving as the general contractor.

The original court building, dating back to 1951, contains 140,000 square feet of space built around a central core. The interior will be completely gutted and reconfigured to accommodate the new schools, the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice and Urban Assembly School of Math and Science for Young Women.

While the schools follow the typical Board of Education models, there have been some modifications, both because the limitations of the available building size and specific needs of the schools of law. In the case of the school of law, a wood-paneled courtroom is to be constructed, complete with judge's podium, witness chair, and jury box.

Constraints of the existing building and limitations on increasing the overall floor area resulted in the consolidation of the gymnasium and auditorium into a flexible multipurpose room, which will replace the existing penthouse. The space, by use of a movable partition, can function as a competition gym, flexible performance space, or simultaneously accommodate two activities. The steel-framed, long-span joist structure will be separated from the existing roof by an interstitial space, which will allow for efficient MEP distribution and optimum noise isolation.

All systems throughout the building will be replaced. Elevator shafts will be combined to accommodate larger, ADA-compliant cars. The deteriorated limestone exterior will be over-clad with an innovative thin-stone fa├žade system and windows replaced throughout the building. Egress from the multipurpose room will be augmented with and additional fire stair.

Construction on the $56 million project will be completed in time for the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

Founded in 1965, Grain Kriegel Associates is a full-service architecture and planning firm providing creative, effective solutions for a wide range of public, commercial, and residential clients. The firm has completed a diverse range of projects, from new housing, education, commercial, and retail facilities to complex renovations and restoration of historic buildings. Gran Kriegel Associates also specializes in urban design and planning, project programming, and feasibility analysis.

Contact: Bruce Ross, Bruce Ross Associates, 212-768-1155


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