CetraRuddy to design new Staten Island charter school

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CetraRuddy announced its selection to design a new,
800-student K-12 school campus on Staten Island for the group Integration
Charter Schools, a leader in independent education focusing on students with
emotional challenges and other special needs.

Occupying three full levels of the eight-story Corporate Commons Three mixed-use complex, also designed by CetraRuddy, the new Integration Charter School (ICS) facilities dramatically expand the organization’s ability to serve its growing student body.

Corporate Commons Three

 This project will
also bring three ICS communities — the John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter
School (grades K–12), Nicotra Early College Charter School (grades 8–12), and
New Ventures Charter School (grades 10–12) — together into a single campus for
the first time.

The Integration Charter School offers communal gathering
areas for students, families, and staff.

According to CetraRuddy Principal Theresa M. Genovese, a leading designer of educational and cultural projects, the new work for ICS reflects a growing trend of incorporating urban schools within mixed-use communities. It also exemplifies a number of emerging best practices for contemporary K-12 learning environments.

Key project elements include:

• Sensitive integration within the larger mixed-use complex
through a separate ground-floor student entry lobby and elevator bank, as well
as the location of gyms, cafeterias, and other social spaces on the middle
school floor to reduce noise impacts for other building tenants.

 • Facilities that
support diverse learning styles, including a range of spaces for group and
individual musical instruction, as well as a full commercial teaching kitchen
and working rooftop farm for food-based educational programs. These uses also
support student job training and internship opportunities at Corporate Commons
Three’s onsite, not-for-profit restaurant.

 • A design approach
emphasizing wellness for students and teaching staff alike. Highlights include
durable finishes in a calming neutral color palette; open corridors and
classrooms oriented around the building’s perimeter for maximum natural
daylight exposure; dedicated counseling “Clusters” for each grade comprising a
meeting room, counseling room and teacher workroom adjacent to classrooms;
large central common spaces for each grade to encourage a sense of community
and belonging; a yoga center and meditation areas specifically for teachers;
and the accessible green roof for nutrition-focused, skills-based education.

“Our goal for the design of the new Integration Charter
School was to create an expanded campus which inspires the students and faculty
to succeed together as a community,” said Genovese. “The architecture and
interior design evolve from our firm’s guiding principles, creating a
welcoming, flexible, and highly functional environment that nurtures and
supports a range of diverse learning styles and educational needs, and that
also enables teachers to do their best work.”

The project builds on CetraRuddy’s increasingly high-profile
educational and cultural portfolio. Other new and upcoming institutional
projects by the firm include three school campuses in southern India for the
Choice Schools organization, new projects for Columbia University and New York
University, and the recent completion of the award-winning Fotografiska New York
museum.

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