Type of construction:Renovation
Architect:Custogeorge Tooman & Allen Architects, P.C.
In just 10 months, Civic Builders transformed a dilapidated church vestry into a vibrant, inspiring educational space for Democracy Prep Charter School (DCPS) in Harlem. In cooperation with DCPS, Civic secured a long-term lease for the facility, performed a gut renovation and now subleases the facility to the school at a below market rate.
Democracy Prep opened its doors to 125 sixth graders in August of 2006, housed in a space provided by the Department of Education. Even before opening, however, the school realized that they would need additional space to accommodate their planned growth. Recognizing the need for a permanent solution to this facility challenge, the school embarked upon a private search. The school identified the neighboring facility owned by St. Philips Episcopal Church, just steps away from their current site. After months of development work, the school acknowledged that the project had become far too time consuming, financially taxing, and complex to handle on their own. Democracy Prep enlisted the help of Civic Builders in the spring of 2007.
The vestry, a 25,500 square foot, four-story, brick masonry building, was originally constructed in 1970. The building underwent a gut renovation, including a comprehensive reconfiguration of the first two floors. The completed facility consists of approximately 13 classrooms, a library, a gymnasium and administrative offices. The entire project was completed on an aggressive schedule and delivered on time.
Democracy Prep Charter School consistently ranks as one of the highest performing schools citywide. With its dual focus on rigorous academics and “preparation for civic success”, DPCS challenges its students to “Work hard, go to college and change the world!”