Ground was broken March 25 for the first new Yonkers public school to be constructed in 20 years. It is to be named after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The community school being built at 73 Lawrence St. is planned to serve 675 students from pre-kindergarten to the 8th grade.
The site is where the St. Denis Catholic School had been located. In addition to classroom space, the Sotomayor School will feature multifunctional spaces that will be available evenings and weekends for community use in addition to school-related activities without the need to open the entire school building. There will be a multipurpose gym and meeting room with a stage. The cafeteria design enables it to also be used as a meeting room and the school will have a health suite with space for two exam rooms and a separate room for dental examinations.
The school will use solar cells, green roofs, high efficiency electric heat pumps, LED lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures and highly-effective MERV 13 air filters. Volatile organic compounds will be minimized in the interior finishes and furnishings.
The new school is expected to open for the 2023-24 school year.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Mike Spano said, “We are fortunate for the opportunity to dedicate a new school in recognition of the positive change Justice Sotomayor represents to our students and district.”
Bonds issued by the Yonkers Joint Schools Construction Board along with $53 million from New York state will cover the budgeted $75.6 million cost of building the 96,000-square-foot school.
The school is planned to provide education in both English and the home/primary language of a student.
“The trustees and I are very proud to name our new school the Justice Sonia Sotomayor Community School,” said Yonkers Board of Education President Rev. Steve Lopez. “The school will serve as an anchor for this community providing a dynamic educational program for our students as well as adult and family medical, dental and social emotional services, and recreational activities and on weekends.”
State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said, “Justice Sotomayor is known for her brilliant legal career, but her inspiring life’s journey truly makes her the perfect person for this recognition. Her story is one of hard work and rising above obstacles. When it opens, the students of this school will learn this story and recognize that no dream is out of reach, regardless of your background.”