City Government’s Move From City Hall Will Facilitate School District Expansion

Real Estate In-Depth | March 6, 2018

City Hall at 515 North Ave., New Rochelle

NEW ROCHELLE—With the announced future move of city government operations from City Hall at 515 North Ave. to the 45 Harrison St. development, the New Rochelle School District reported that it will significantly expand its presence at the North Avenue property.

The New Rochelle School District has shared the 121,000-square-foot building since the early 1960s with city government on the ground floor and first floor and the school district on the second and third stories. With the move, expected sometime in 2021, the school district will gain an additional 86,000 square feet of space for instructional space, offices and other uses.

Mayor Noam Bramson announced in his State of the City address on March 1 the move of city operations to 45 Harrison St., the current site of Fire Station #1 and the future home of MacQuesten Development’s $110-million mixed-use development.

“The relocation of City Hall to Downtown New Rochelle is a win-win-win for our economy, for our city, and for our schools,” said Mayor Bramson. “This public-private partnership holds so much promise, complementing our downtown redevelopment while benefiting both our school community and taxpayers.”

After the move, which is expected sometime in 2021, the New Rochelle School District will take over the entire City Hall building, allowing for more classrooms, administrative and programming space at a much lower capital expense than new construction. The school district hopes to renovate and open the former City Hall with its new uses in September 2022.

“This space will open possibilities for the school district,” said Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne. “It’s an exciting project and our guiding principle for how to best use the space will be what is best for our students. We look forward to working with parents, teachers, and the public to how to best take advantage of this expansion of the school district.”

The exact cost of the renovations necessary prior to the move-in will be reviewed. In November 2017, a building condition survey conducted by CSArch, an architectural, engineering and construction management firm, identified $14.6 million in work needed to bring the entire building up to good condition and meet needs expected over the coming five years.

In addition, converting areas to instructional space will require meeting conditions set by the New York State Education Department. Renovations into instructional space may be eligible for state building aid reimbursements, school district officials noted.

“We will study the space and its possibilities thoroughly,” Dr. Osborne said. “While we don’t yet know which programs and functions will occupy the floors, we intend to use the space to bring a new era to the school district.”

The storied building opened in 1906 as New Rochelle High School. Wings were added in 1918 and 1922, and the building later was used as a vocational high school and junior high school. Its most recent incarnation as a school—the Albert Leonard School—vacated the building in 1960. In 1961, renovations began to convert 515 North Ave. into a shared government building to include City Hall, the Board of Education, the police and fire departments and City Court. The building reopened in 1963.