Located in the Bronx, NY, the Bronx Early Learning Center is a 22-classroom preschool for both typically developmental and delayed children. The project consolidated the operations of two existing Bronx preschools into a new state-of-the-art early learning facility. Programmatic elements include classrooms, support spaces, extensive physical and speech rehabilitation facilities and a large multi-purpose room. Public spaces use a color-coding system to denote function; the repetition of simple shapes and forms reinforces this logic. Colored wood panels compose the three story “feature wall” which is the central unifying element of the project.
By restoring the exterior to its original condition and gutting the interior, the design team transformed the building from its once dilapidated state into a proud facility. A new 3rd Floor mezzanine required an independent steel structure from the existing wood/cast iron system between the 2nd Floor and roof trusses, and the outdoor, rooftop playground required additional structural supports as well.
At the time of completion, the Bronx Early Learning Center was the largest special-needs preschool and early learning center in New York State, and more importantly, an innovative and environmentally sensitive learning environment. It was awarded the 2008 Crow Island School Citation recognizing it as the top Pre-K through 12 educational facility by American School & University.