Helpern Architects

New Utrecht High School

New York, New York
NYC School Construction Authority
25,300 sf

Once famed as the school in “Welcome Back, Kotter”, more than three decades later New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst housed 3,200 students and had reached its physical limits. To increase capacity, we designed a new 25,300 sf, two-story addition that extended the L-shaped building into a square.

Commissioned under our term contract with the SCA, the new structure created a much larger cafeteria to replace the existing refectory and kitchen, added new classrooms, provided air conditioning for the auditorium, and modernized building systems.

The school also gained a new entrance. The existing building and the addition were conjoined by a new corridor to create a “main street” inside the school. Our design incorporates the exterior wall of the original building as one side of the new corridor.

The original New Utrecht High School building was designed in classical style, but the architectural character of the addition, which comes right to the street line, could be modern; either was appropriate. We conceptualized and presented various approaches to the School Board, which opted for a “seamless” addition.

Field measurement ensured a proper integration of the old and new. A cost-effective program resulted from extensive meetings with the principal, her staff, and SCA representatives. Our field representatives remained on the site throughout construction to monitor construction accuracy and quality.

Photos: © Brian Rose