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PR- 025-04
February 2, 2004


First High School Built in Harlem in over 50 Years; Dedication Coincides with the 50th Anniversary of the Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Brown V. Board of Education

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today joined the Abyssinian Development Corporation and New Visions for Public Schools to announce the opening of the new home of the Thurgood Marshall Academy in Harlem.  The $38 million state-of-the-art facility, located at the corner of 135th Street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd., is the first new high school to be built in Harlem in more than 50 years.  The Mayor and Chancellor were also joined by Cecilia Marshall, wife of late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church; Sheena Wright, President and CEO of Abyssinian Development Corporation; Robert Hughes, President, New Visions for Public Schools; Representative Charles B. Rangel; Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields and Caroline Kennedy, Chief Executive of the Department of Education’s Office of Strategic Partnerships.

“For nearly 20 years, Thurgood Marshall was one of Harlem’s most distinguished residents, and for more than a half-century, he was one of our nation’s champions for freedom,” said Mayor Bloomberg.  “Fifty years ago, he won the historic Brown vs. Board of Education, which was a pivotal moment in our nation’s march toward becoming a more just society and I’m honored to share the stage today with his wife, Cecilia Marshall, to open this wonderful new school. The Thurgood Marshal Acadamy has been an enormous success since its opened in 1993, and our administration is committed to ensure that all our schools are as successful.”

“The New York City Department of Education is proud to be associated with a school named for such a great man as Thurgood Marshall,” Chancellor Klein said.  “I’m particularly proud to be here today with the many elected officials and community leaders whose hard work and dedication led to the construction of this amazing new facility.  Private-public partnerships in education are important, and this great Academy shows what can happen when these partnerships thrive.”

This state of the art school building was designed by Gruzen and took 21 months to construct.  It houses 17 regular classrooms, 3 science demo rooms, 2 science labs, a full gymnasium, a distance learning classroom, a music room, a library, and a high tech computer lab.  The school building will also house The Time Warner Library Media Center, and an on-site, school-based clinic (through Columbia Presbyterian) that will provide medical, dental and social services to Thurgood Marshall Academy students and their families.

The Thurgood Marshall Academy was founded in 1993 by Abyssinian Baptist Church and the Abyssinian Development Corp., in collaboration with New Visions for Public Schools and the then New York City Board of Education.   That partnership remains in place and the school remains dedicated to a mission of providing students and their families with the experiences they need to meet the challenges of the colleges, universities, and work force in the twenty-first century.  Dr. Calvin O. Butts III, Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church, was instrumental in the establishment of the Thurgood Marshall Academy in 1993 and also in its relocation today.

Thurgood Marshall Academy currently enrolls more than 400 students in grades 7-12 and boasts a college acceptance rate of 90%.  The school program incorporates parental involvement as well as collaborative efforts with institutions, organizations and resources in Central Harlem.

The Department of Education’s $13.1 billion capital plan is the biggest in the City’s history and includes building 90 new schools with 66,000 classroom seats over the next five years. The school construction process has been reformed and DOE is now able to build better-quality schools faster, and at less cost.  The most recent bid received on a school construction job, PS 12 in Queens, came in at $311 per square foot – roughly 30% below the average low bids of the seven previous schools built before the construction process was improved.


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958


Jerry Russo   (DOE)
(212) 374-5141

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