On Tuesday, September 13, 2016, Manhattan Country School opened the doors to its new home at 150 West 85th Street. It was an event several years in the making.
In 2011, the MCS Board of Trustees approved a strategic plan to gradually grow our enrollment from 200 to 400 students between 2016 and 2020. (We started by adding a second 4-5s, 5-6s and 6-7s class for the 2016-2017 school year.) Doing so ensures our sliding-scale tuition model and economic diversity for the long term and extends our legacy of producing alumni who are intellectually curious, environmentally conscious, skilled community builders and committed change agents.
While our beloved home at 7 East 96th Street served us well for nearly 50 years, it didn't offer room to expand. Accommodating our planned growth required a larger facility that was better aligned with our current and future program needs.
Finding a building that would be the right fit for MCS was a process that required thoughtful consideration. Our new location had to allow us to continue to serve a diverse community and provide easy access to Central Park, which is integral to our curriculum. After a three-and-a-half year search, we found the building that we strongly believe will best serve as the new home of Manhattan Country School.
Formerly Mannes College, The New School of Music, 150 West 85th Street has the kind of distinctive look and feel that remind us of our first home. Like 7 East 96th Street, this building has great history. But with nearly twice the square footage, it affords us the space we need to grow. The building has strong bones, but we are working with an architectural firm with an expertise in designing schools to transform the space to meet our specific needs.
When all phases of renovation are complete, our new home will have:
- two classrooms for every grade from pre-K to eighth
- a multipurpose space for assemblies, physical education and athletic competitions
- much-improved classrooms for science, art and other programs essential to our progressive education curriculum
- program and administrative offices under one roof
Our new Upper West Side location allows us to continue to attract a diverse range of students and families and remain accessible for current members of our community. The neighborhood has a long progressive history, consistent with the MCS mission. Proximity to Central Park and Riverside Park, as well as buses and subways, is a great fit for our educational community.
The 2016-2017 school year marks our first school year in our new home—and our 50th anniversary. The walls of the school have changed, but our spirit hasn't. MCS and the Board of Trustees are working very closely with faculty, parents, alumni and others to ensure that the culture and traditions that have made the MCS experience so rich carry on in our new home.