As reported in the New York Observer, The Abraham Joshua Heschel School, a NYC Private Jewish School, will soon expand thanks to success of its recent capital campaign. The new building will include K-8th grade and will be adjacent to Heschel’s high school at 20 West End Avenue:
On Oct. 14, the school filed plans with the Department of Buildings for a new, nine-story building at 246 West 61st Street. The school will sit on that lot, which the school purchased for $18 million in 2006, and the adjacent 30 West End Avenue, acquired in 2000 and now leased to an auto dealer.
The school has partly the largesse of chemical titan Ronald P. Stanton to thank. Mr. Stanton, a Heschel parent who made his fortune as founder and chairman of Transammonia, Inc., a firm that deals in fertilizers and liquefied petroleum gas, among other such substances, recently donated $33 million to the capital campaign. Mr. Stanton is also the man behind the largest ever donation to Yeshiva University ($100 million).
The Jewish Week also recently reported on the expansion:
“I am pleased that Heschel can now proceed with its much needed expansion,” Stanton told The Jewish Week. “The additions and improvements to the school’s physical plant will enhance the education Heschel provides to our children, which is my goal in making this gift. I hope that my pledge will inspire others to support the school as this project moves ahead.”
Eight other philanthropists, including trustees of the school, and parents and grandparents of current students and alumni, committed $42 million.
When asked why Heschel chose to launch an expansion campaign in this tough economic climate, Head of School Roanna Shorofsky explained that the expansion plan has been 10 years in the making.
“Recently it became apparent that we would not be able to admit all the siblings of our current parent body. Furthermore, we would not be able to entertain applications from new families applying to the school,” she told The Jewish Week. “We were confident enough to continue this effort in this economic climate because of the response from a small group of donors who understood both the immediate as well as long-term strategic need and were willing and able to bring us to this point.”
Gruzen Samton Architects will design the new building and it is expected to be completed in 2012.