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For Immediate Release
Contact : (212) 306-3322
Date: January 14, 2003

$4.6M Community Center Opens at Baychester Houses

The new and greatly expanded $4.6 million Community Center at Baychester Houses in the Edenwald section of the Bronx was formally opened today.

The new facility, more than four times the size of the previous center, has innovative features that mirror other recently opened New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Community Centers that have garnered rave reviews in architectural design circles.

The 15,700-sq. ft. Baychester Community Center at East 229th Street and Schieffelin Avenue in the Bronx has a new 11,900-sq. ft. addition integrated into the old 3,800-sq. ft. center. It corresponds to the new design. The construction took only 22 months to complete.

Most unique in the new center is a first time effort by NYCHA’s in-house Design Department to build a translucent roof for the gym to provide natural light. The full-size gym also has been equipped with acoustical paneling to reduce noise from the spectator bleachers.

"This center will provide modern recreational and leisure-time facilities to our communities so that all our residents benefit," NYCHA Chairman Tino Hernandez said. "This new facility will have a wide variety of programs designed to attract all age groups living at Baychester Houses and in the surrounding community," he added.

In addition to the gymnasium, the new portion of the center has a multi-purpose room with new bathrooms, changing rooms, a new kitchen, classrooms and offices. The renovated portion includes computer, arts and crafts, and education rooms. The new entrance also features a skylighted lobby.

The center will share space with the Bay Eden Senior Center, sponsored by Aging in America, where breakfast and lunch will be served to some 300 senior citizens. The senior center will provide activities in arts and crafts, video, exercise programs, chess lessons, knitting, chorus, yoga, and health screenings.

Youth programs will include karate, basketball, Partners in Reading, dance classes, arts and crafts, computer lab, homework assistance, and pool and ping-pong as well as lunch and supper programs. Partners in Reading goal is to improve the literacy skills of children ages 6, 7, and 8 through a combination of classroom instruction, homework help, individual tutoring, the use of interactive projects, and outreach to parents.

The Baychester center also has a newly designed outside area adjacent to the building developed as sitting, gardening and game areas.

NYCHA is this year's recipient of a Special Commendation in the Corporate Achievement category from the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for the quality and durability of our design.

DOBCO Inc. was the general contractor; Jerusalem Air, mechanical contractor; Satellite Plumbing, plumbing contractor; Falcon Electric, electrical contractor; and Kalwall Corporation constructed the translucent roof.

Baychester Houses, completed May 31, 1963, has 11 six-story buildings on 8.27-acres. The complex has 441 apartments housing an estimated 950 residents. It is located on Schieffelin Avenue between East 225th and East 229th Streets.