The Brooklyn Eagle has learned that The Packer Collegiate Institute is currently in contract to purchase the retail property at 100 Clinton St. The building will house Packer’s Preschool and Kindergarten program beginning in the fall of 2017.
With this acquisition, Packer will be able to offer a state-of-the-art facility precisely dedicated to its pre-K and kindergarten students, with modern, spacious classrooms aligned with the latest research on the unique cognitive and developmental needs of young learners.
The building will be designed in conjunction with Hudson Studio Architects, who have guided the updating of core physical spaces on Packer’s current campus, including the complete renovation of Packer’s Lower School in summer 2014. Packer will also call upon its expert early-childhood educators to be integrally involved in the design process.
Only two stories high, 100 Clinton St. boasts a 4,000-square-foot roof, which allows for a generous outdoor recreational space. Large windows along the building’s 130 feet of frontage along Clinton and Remsen Streets will provide ample natural light throughout the interior.
The opening of a dedicated preschool and kindergarten building on Clinton Street will vacate the Kindergarten Suite in Founders Hall and the Garden House, a townhouse fronting on Livingston Street. Together, this represents approximately 6,500 square feet whose repurposing will achieve two of the school’s strategic and programmatic goals: adding more instructional space so that students and teachers on our main campus may operate more effectively; and providing bricks-and-mortar support to the school’s current curricular initiatives, including increased interdisciplinary study and project-based learning.
At his announcement of this major decision for the school, Head of School Dr. Bruce L. Dennis commented, “This purchase will further enhance the outstanding education that Packer offers, not only for our youngest learners, who will enjoy new state-of-the-art facilities at the Clinton Street location, but also for our entire student body, who will reap the benefits of the many exciting educational opportunities that will be made available by a completely renovated Garden House and kindergarten suite.”
Ronan Harty, chair of Packer’s Board of Trustees, commented, “The opportunity that this purchase affords us will not be used to increase student enrollment, which we intend to hold constant. Rather, we look to the many exciting ways in which the new space will allow us to further enrich Packer’s facilities. Expanding instructional opportunities for students will add even greater value to an already excellent school.”
With the existing medical offices at 100 Clinton St. remaining as tenants until summer 2015, construction on that building will likely begin in early 2016. The repurposing and renovation of Packer’s Garden House and Kindergarten Suite is expected to be complete by the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year. The building purchase and some of the related costs will be funded through the sale of bonds.
Founded in 1845, The Packer Collegiate Institute is the oldest independent school in Brooklyn. A co-educational school enrolling over 1000 students from Preschool through Grade 12, Packer is located at 170 Joralemon St. on a landmarked campus of contiguous buildings including the former St. Ann’s Church, which the school acquired in 1967.