Bay Ridge Prep, a K-12 private school in its namesake neighborhood, is expanding its footprint after nearly 25 years in the community with the purchase of its third property overlooking Shore Road Park.
“We were looking for a third facility which would help to relieve the pressure in [our other] buildings and enable us to be able to serve more of the community,” Charles Fasano, Bay Ridge Prep’s head of school, told Brooklyn Paper.
The school, which describes itself as “dedicated to enriching intellectual curiosity, creativity and emotional intelligence through an inclusive, student-centered community,” was founded in 1998 by Charles Fasano, the current head of school, and a group of educators and parents as a school that “put students first and prioritizes the social-emotional well-being of each individual,” according to its website.
“The approach to education is very focused on critical thinking and problem-solving, project-based,” Fasano said, “and really looking at preparing students not just for future education, but also for many of the skills and abilities they are going to need to be successful later in life.”
Fasano announced Bay Ridge Prep purchased property between 7503-7509 Shore Road to the school community in an e-mail sent on Oct. 28, and that the new building would alleviate space constraints at the existing buildings — the Lower and Middle School at 8101 Ridge Boulevard and the Upper School at 7420 Fourth Ave. — which are both at capacity, as well as allow them to more efficiently employ their curriculum.
“We believe that education should not just be students sitting at desks being lectured to by teachers but for students being able to work on designing things, and being able to build things, and being able to present and defend their ideas. This all takes space,” Fasano said. “Not only is it going to provide us the ability to be able to take in some more students but also just provide us the space to lay out the curriculum in the way we think is best.”
The property’s location by Shore Road Park is expected to be a boost for Bay Ridge Prep’s sports programs, as the student-athletes can utilize the park’s fields and running paths. Outdoor space on the property can also be used for outdoor learning.
“In addition to building space, there is a lot of outdoor space for students, it’s right across the street from Shore Road Park and the field and the running tracks, so we just feel that that will also complement our athletics really well,” Fasano said.
The administration has not nailed down what they intend to do with the new space, at the intersection of Bay Ridge Parkway, just yet but Fasano said it will most likely be used in conjunction with their existing buildings for middle and high school students.
“We are going to be using all three buildings, we’re looking at that use piece right now… but it will most likely be utilized by middle and high school,” he told Brooklyn Paper.
The interior of the 26,000 sq. ft. facility that exists on the property will be fully renovated before the new location is expected to open to students at the end of 2023 — the same year the school celebrates its 25-year anniversary.
A multi-year fundraising drive will begin once the preparatory school’s administrations figures out the gap between its bank financing and construction cost, and a virtual town hall will be announced to update the school community.
Bay Ridge Prep purchased the property from the Redemptorist Fathers of New York for $8.25 million, according to city property records. The Catholic order used the space for their church, which is now shuttered.