Our Building’s History

The NYCiSchool in 1929

iSchool Brief Building History:

The history of our building started with the vision of a very devoted Superintendent of School Buildings and architect named Charles B.J Snyder. He was a creative engineer in the development of the design and construction of urban school buildings. With many of the buildings he created including the iSchool building, Snyder had the vision of making schools into civic monuments to better the students and the community. Snyder is remembered and credited for the designs of more than 400 New York City public schools. His vision improved not only the outer appearance of the schools, but also the more important things such as fire protection, ventilation, and lighting and in most designs classroom size. With Snyder’s vision of our roof he envisioned children playing on the roof and using it as escape from the hot and noisy streets. For the rest of our building he made it a place where the community could get together. Our auditorium is one the first floor to be shared throughout the school and with the community. For our classrooms and hallways we have bigger windows than most schools to bring in natural light throughout the buildings. Our green project will preserve Snyder’s original vision, to open the school building roof for the healthy enjoyment of the students.  We will use the green space school as a place where we can share and enjoy the time we have here and create a space that benefits the environment as we make a footprint in the journey towards making ischool a better, greener learning place.

The original school’s name was Ward School #28, later changed to Ward School #38 in1853. A fire occurred in 1899 and the damage was reported to amount $1000.00.  The site was temporarily turned into a playground but still owned by the Board of Education.

In 1904 (During Charles CBJ Snyder’s tenure as Superintendent of School Buildings and its chief architect)  one of his many projects was to construct  a new school on the current site of Ward School #38 which was damaged in the fire. This was one of his many school projects in the five boroughs, 250 of which still survive to this day.  The buildings he designed are beautiful.  There are many great architectural features of our school building.   It took two years to build the building at a cost of $648,000 according to the Board of Education records.  In 1916 the school was renamed the Victoria Colona school for an Italian Renaissance woman poet.  We have not been able to find out yet when the building became Chelsea Vocational High School

We have found out that the architect, CBJ Snyder, believed in the importance of a playground for students.  Like many other schools that he built, our roof was designed for recreation. So installing the green roof for student use is not a new use of our roof.  It is an existing use that was designed for in 1914 and that students can now enjoy again in 2013 (when we expect the green roof to be opened to the use of the NYC iSchool students and teachers.

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