May­or Adams Announces New Expan­sion Plan for Har­bor School on Gov­er­nors Island


Photo courtesy of the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School

New York City May­or Eric Adams today announced new plans to expand the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School on Gov­er­nors Island. Dou­bling the school’s foot­print from two to four build­ings — includ­ing one that will be new­ly con­struct­ed — the plan will bring addi­tion­al class­room space and new facil­i­ties, includ­ing a pool, gym­na­si­um, and lab space to sup­port the school’s unique mar­itime and envi­ron­men­tal cur­ricu­lum. The plan is the prod­uct of a part­ner­ship between the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island, the New York City Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion (DOE), and the New York City School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty (SCA).

For many New York­ers, Gov­er­nors Island is a place to get away over the week­end. And for so many oth­ers, it is a place to learn about our world or pre­pare our city for the threats of cli­mate change,” said May­or Adams. This project will give our young peo­ple the best of all worlds: a holis­tic, high-qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion, brand new facil­i­ties to help stu­dents learn, and access to one of our city’s gems where nature tru­ly is the classroom.”

The Urban Assem­bly Har­bor School expan­sion will pro­vide our youth with brand-new facil­i­ties, a unique learn­ing envi­ron­ment, and expo­sure to a city trea­sure in Gov­er­nors Island,” said First Deputy May­or Lor­raine Gril­lo. Thank you, May­or Adams, the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty, and all the city and com­mu­ni­ty stake­hold­ers for mak­ing this project possible.”

Gov­er­nors Island has proven itself to be a recre­ation­al, cul­tur­al, and edu­ca­tion­al resource for over a decade in part­ner­ship with the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School,” said Deputy May­or for Eco­nom­ic and Work­force Devel­op­ment Maria Tor­res-Springer. We know the excep­tion­al stu­dents at the Har­bor School have bright futures, and I am excit­ed to see all they can accom­plish with state-of-the-art expand­ed space and resources.”

Expan­sion plans announced today include the con­struc­tion of a new, state-of-the-art facil­i­ty locat­ed on a site with­in the Island’s West­ern Devel­op­ment Zone. The new facil­i­ty will house a com­pe­ti­tion-sized pool to sup­port the school’s unique water-depen­dent mar­itime pro­grams, a new gym­na­si­um, and expand­ed lab­o­ra­to­ry space ded­i­cat­ed to career-tech­ni­cal train­ing and research. The new facil­i­ty will be the first new con­struc­tion build­ing locat­ed with­in a devel­op­ment zone on Gov­er­nors Island since its trans­fer from fed­er­al to local con­trol and will be a key com­po­nent of the trust’s planned mul­ti-ten­ant Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions. The con­struc­tion of the new pool, gym­na­si­um, and lab­o­ra­to­ry facil­i­ty will demon­strate bold sus­tain­able and resilient design as out­lined in the trust’s goals for the Cli­mate Cen­ter and the island’s over­all transformation. 

The School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty will also ren­o­vate Build­ing 555 — a des­ig­nat­ed land­mark build­ing orig­i­nal­ly con­struct­ed in 1938 as fam­i­ly hous­ing by the Unit­ed States Army — to sup­port 32,000 square feet of addi­tion­al class­room space. Both projects will expand the Har­bor School’s facil­i­ties on Gov­er­nors Island from two build­ings to four. The over­all expan­sion project includes cap­i­tal fund­ing sup­port from the New York City Coun­cil and the Man­hat­tan Bor­ough President’s Office.

The first year-round ten­ant on Gov­er­nors Island since its trans­fer from fed­er­al to local con­trol in 2003, the mis­sion of the Har­bor School — a DOE pub­lic high school — is to pro­vide a col­lege-prepara­to­ry edu­ca­tion built upon New York City’s mar­itime expe­ri­ence with a focus on envi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship. With its part­ners — includ­ing the Bil­lion Oys­ter Project — the school devel­ops authen­tic activ­i­ties for its stu­dents on, around, and relat­ed to the water that cre­ates a sense of respon­si­bil­i­ty to the New York Har­bor and devel­op a new gen­er­a­tion of mar­itime advo­cates, enthu­si­asts, work­ers, and deci­sion-mak­ers. The Har­bor School cur­rent­ly occu­pies near­ly 80,000 square feet across two build­ings locat­ed with­in the Gov­er­nors Island His­toric Dis­trict, includ­ing Build­ing 550 and the Marine and Sci­ence Tech­nol­o­gy Cen­ter, which sup­ports the school’s water depen­dent activity. 

The expan­sion of the Har­bor School comes at a trans­for­ma­tion­al moment as the trust moves for­ward, with plans to devel­op a Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions, which will expand part­ner­ship, learn­ing and train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents on Gov­er­nors Island. The trust is cur­rent­ly in the process of attract­ing an anchor edu­ca­tion­al and research insti­tu­tion as part of the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions, a ground­break­ing ini­tia­tive designed to fur­ther New York City as a glob­al leader in efforts to respond to the cli­mate cri­sis. A key part of May­or Eric Adams’ Blue­print for New York City’s Eco­nom­ic Recov­ery, the project will sup­port the research, devel­op­ment, and demon­stra­tion of equi­table cli­mate solu­tions for New York City — that can be scaled and applied globally.

The Urban Assem­bly Har­bor School is an incred­i­ble exam­ple of how a school’s cam­pus and facil­i­ties can help mold our stu­dents’ pas­sions, inter­ests, and, ulti­mate­ly, their path to eco­nom­ic secu­ri­ty. Most impor­tant­ly, we lis­tened to and heard from the stu­dents, edu­ca­tors, and fam­i­lies of the Har­bor School, who advo­cat­ed for these facil­i­ty invest­ments,” said DOE Chan­cel­lor David C. Banks. I look for­ward to the impact that these new and sus­tain­able facil­i­ties, includ­ing a new pool, gym­na­si­um, and lab­o­ra­to­ry, will have on this unique school com­mu­ni­ty, and thank the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island for their con­tin­ued partnership.”

For over a decade, the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School has uti­lized Gov­er­nors Island and New York Har­bor as a liv­ing class­room, where stu­dents from across the five bor­oughs receive career train­ing in mar­itime and envi­ron­men­tal fields and are empow­ered to take action in the face of cli­mate change, and today’s announce­ment of an expand­ed cam­pus means more stu­dents than ever will have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to expe­ri­ence its unique cur­ricu­lum,” said Clare New­man, pres­i­dent and CEO, Trust for Gov­er­nors Island. We’re hon­ored to have worked with May­or Eric Adams, the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty, Schools Chan­cel­lor David Banks, and the Har­bor School com­mu­ni­ty to devel­op new state-of-the-art lab­o­ra­to­ry and aquat­ic facil­i­ties here on Gov­er­nors Island, where stu­dents will gain expo­sure to real-world train­ing for jobs in the mar­itime, cli­mate, and the envi­ron­men­tal fields.”

I am thrilled that the SCA will be able to improve and expand upon our orig­i­nal plans for the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School,” said SCA pres­i­dent and CEO Nina Kub­o­ta. The col­lab­o­ra­tive effort between the SCA, DOE, and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island has led to this ter­rif­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty for the school’s unique mar­itime pro­gram­ming to serve even more New York City stu­dents as well as an addi­tion­al resource for the community.”

The expan­sion of Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School brings to life our chancellor’s vision of reimag­in­ing the stu­dent learn­ing expe­ri­ence,” said Fred Walsh, high school super­in­ten­dent for CUNY and the Urban Assem­bly, DOE. We are thrilled about the plan to expand and improve the school’s facil­i­ties, which will ulti­mate­ly expand oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents across the city. Stu­dents who attend the Har­bor School engage in a wide range of mar­itime- and marine sci­ence-focused career and tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion (CTE) pro­grams and work-based learn­ing, lead­ing to indus­try cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and prepar­ing them for suc­cess­ful expe­ri­ence in col­lege or a career of their choice. As our world changes and the need for cli­mate change solu­tions evolves, this expan­sion will enrich the lives of count­less stu­dents, while prepar­ing future grad­u­ates to be at the fore­front of the field and enter the work­force pre­pared to lead. We look for­ward to see­ing the impact the expan­sion has on all of the stu­dents and fam­i­lies who join the Har­bor School Community.”

I am proud to have long cham­pi­oned Gov­er­nors Island; it is tru­ly one of our city’s hid­den gems,” said U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jer­ry Nadler. I have long sup­port­ed the Har­bor School on Gov­er­nors Island. I believe that its edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion is so impor­tant today, which is why after many years of advo­ca­cy it is great news that the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty and the city are final­ly announc­ing an expan­sion of the school and build­ing, a much-need­ed pool, gym­na­si­um, and new sci­ence labs.”

The New York Har­bor School’s CTE pro­gram is one of the most unique in the city, and because of that, care­ful con­sid­er­a­tions must be made when devel­op­ing a space that is intend­ed to be of opti­mal ser­vice to the school com­mu­ni­ty there,” said Man­hat­tan Bor­ough Pres­i­dent Mark Levine. I am extreme­ly pleased to see that SCA is act­ing on those con­sid­er­a­tions and cen­ter­ing equi­ty as it relates to a school whose mis­sion is to pro­vide robust, unique, on-water expe­ri­ences for their stu­dents and offer path­ways into mar­itime careers.”

I am thrilled that the Har­bor School will be expand­ing its facil­i­ties and that they will final­ly get their long-await­ed swim­ming pool and gym­na­si­um,” said New York State Sen­a­tor Bri­an Kavanagh. For near­ly twen­ty years, the Har­bor School has offered unique edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties to a diverse stu­dent body. Learn­ing marine biol­o­gy, sail­ing, and oth­er water­craft skills, and col­lab­o­rat­ing with the Bil­lion Oys­ter Project, all pre­pare stu­dents for careers engag­ing with and being good stew­ards of our nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment — and serv­ing Gov­er­nors Island, the har­bor, and New York. The aquat­ic cen­ter will allow stu­dents to take full advan­tage of the school’s mar­itime-themed aca­d­e­mics. I am glad that the expan­sion includes addi­tion­al class­room space, giv­ing more stu­dents the chance to expe­ri­ence this excep­tion­al edu­ca­tion on Gov­er­nors Island. Thank you to the trust, the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty, Prin­ci­pal Jeff Che­tirko, the Har­bor School PTA, the stu­dents, Com­mu­ni­ty Board 1, and all of the ded­i­cat­ed advo­cates who helped make this possible.”

I am excit­ed to see that after years of advo­ca­cy from par­ents, com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers, and elect­ed offi­cials, Har­bor School is final­ly get­ting the resources it deserves,” said New York State Assem­bly­mem­ber Yuh-Line Niou. It is vital that we sup­port our CTE pro­grams and that we increase access to spe­cial­ized resources and oth­er facil­i­ties for our stu­dents. This pro­pos­al does both, and I am proud to have advo­cat­ed for these projects.”

Since tak­ing office, we have been work­ing with the Har­bor School staff and par­ents to advo­cate for a full-sized com­pet­i­tive pool for their stu­dents,” said New York City Coun­cilmem­ber Christo­pher Marte. We are so excit­ed that the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty has heard our call and com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing an incred­i­ble facil­i­ty for one of our district’s most unique pub­lic high schools. Har­bor School stu­dents have unique oppor­tu­ni­ties to grad­u­ate high school with skills that make them unique­ly qual­i­fied to work green jobs and with our water­ways. How­ev­er, the lack of access to a com­pet­i­tive-sized swim­ming pool has left a sig­nif­i­cant gap in this edu­ca­tion. The addi­tion of this pool shows the pow­er of com­mu­ni­ty activism and the will­ing­ness of the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty to work with par­ents and staff.”

CB1 is thrilled that the Har­bor School will final­ly have their long-await­ed aquat­ics cen­ter on Gov­er­nors Island,” said Tri­cia Joyce, chair­per­son, Youth and Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee, Man­hat­tan Com­mu­ni­ty Board 1 (CB1). The School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island respond­ed to PTA and com­mu­ni­ty feed­back to find a solu­tion, and the loca­tion and design of the new build­ing will make this spe­cial pro­gram for envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence and mar­itime careers on the water whole at last. We thank our elect­ed offi­cials for their tire­less sup­port of edu­ca­tion in Com­mu­ni­ty Dis­trict 1.”

We are thrilled and excit­ed that the New York Har­bor School’s long quest for an aquat­ics cen­ter and gym will final­ly have a facil­i­ty empow­er­ing suc­cess for this spe­cial pro­gram of envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence and mar­itime careers in our city on the water,” said Nan Richard­son, chair, SEA com­mit­tee; and Amy Koza, PTA pres­i­dent, New York Har­bor School. Grat­i­tude to the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island and School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty and to the chan­cel­lor for their com­mit­ment to a vision­ary future of edu­ca­tion, as well as to Con­gress­man Nadler, Coun­cilmem­ber Marte, Sen­a­tor Kavanagh, Assem­bly­mem­ber Fall, Assem­bly­mem­ber Niou, and Man­hat­tan Bor­ough Pres­i­dent Levine for their unflag­ging sup­port and belief in inno­v­a­tive learn­ing. Every sin­gle fam­i­ly and friend of Har­bor School past, present, and future, will be joy­ous at this news.”

The Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School com­mu­ni­ty great­ly appre­ci­ates the sup­port of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island and the School Con­struc­tion Author­i­ty for pro­vid­ing our pub­lic school the nec­es­sary tools to meet the require­ments of our sev­en career and tech­ni­cal edu­ca­tion path­ways,” said Jef­frey Che­tirko, prin­ci­pal, The Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School. This invest­ment will ensure greater oppor­tu­ni­ties to pre­pare our stu­dents to pur­sue careers in the blue and green economies of the future and con­tin­ue to appre­ci­ate and pro­tect our city’s great­est nat­ur­al resources, New York Har­bor and Gov­er­nors Island. These resources will cre­ate equi­table facil­i­ties, allow­ing New York City stu­dents to learn to swim, space for phys­i­cal edu­ca­tion, and state-of-the-art facil­i­ties that will sup­port the envi­ron­men­tal work we do with the Bil­lion Oys­ter Project.”

The Urban Assembly’s abil­i­ty to pro­vide robust work-based learn­ing and career path­ways in the mar­itime indus­try has been strength­ened by this expan­sion,” said David Adams, CEO, The Urban Assem­bly. We look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing the work of devel­op­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of stew­ards and lead­ers of the New York Harbor.”

The New York Har­bor School pro­vides fan­tas­tic, hands-on, place based edu­ca­tion­al oppor­tu­ni­ties for stu­dents that are depen­dent on its loca­tion, on Gov­er­nors Island, in the cen­ter of New York Har­bor. This invest­ment by the City and the Trust for Gov­er­nor’s Island is a tes­ta­ment to over a decade of excel­lent instruc­tion and unique and excit­ing learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties. All of us at Bil­lion Oys­ter Project are thrilled to see Har­bor School expand and final­ly have con­ve­nient access to a pool for dive and swim train­ing as well as much need­ed lab spaces for expand­ing Career and Tech­ni­cal Edu­ca­tion,” said Pete Mali­nows­ki, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Bil­lion Oys­ter Project.