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Educational Alliance Moving Forward on Major Upfit

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Sidewalk repairs preceded the renovations at 197 E. Broadway; the real work starts next month.

Leaders at the Educational Alliance have sent us an update to last month’s big news about their major capital project. In an email to supporters, administrators at the 122-year-old institution unveiled a new website and an update on the planning process for the overhaul and modernization of their flagship building at 197 E. Broadway, which is scheduled to start in November:

Today, we’re thrilled to announce that the renovation has been officially approved by the Board of Trustees and we’re moving forward with our plans to create the quintessential urban community center.

The project is expected to take the better part of two years and cost roughly $50 million, resulting in much more functional space for the Educational Alliances’ many programs. At the same time, the construction will require programs to be temporarily disrupted and relocated. The plans have especially riled supporters of the art school, who have organized an opposition group and continue to protest via letters and petitions to the board of directors.

In a blog post last night, CEO and President Robin Bernstein acknowledged the difficulty of making such a big change:

In order to leave the Alliance strong for generations yet to enter our doors, we need to rebuild, even though there is the possibility that some of them might never see the new building.

I believe that the story of the Educational Alliance is a story of courage. It would be easy for us to just keep applying a little paint and repairing our old elevator, but we courageously undertook this major renovation during this difficult economic time because we knew it would be good for our community.


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  1. thanks for being brave in showing that there is major opposition to these plans, especially in regards to the slap dash shoddy way they’ve handled issues relating to the art school’s future.
    i know it’s not always easy to report on a sometimes advertiser in a balanced manner that they might not appreciate, but it shows amazing integrity on your part.
    so again, thanks, and please keep at it!

  2. Yes I guess it takes courage or chutzpah just plain old arrogance to destroy a 100 year old art school so you they have a banquet hall.  They can do it so they will.  If the art students, who are from all walks of life, including teens from the community and the seniors that they claim to care so much about, are hurt in the process, I guess the educational alliance just doesn’t care.

  3. It’s very curious which community this renovation would be good for… definitely not the one they’re currently serving since there isn’t any input process from the community at all.  To me, this renovation might be another out of place south of Delancey “blue” bldg.  And, who is she referring to when she says “some of them might never see the new building”?!

  4. the lack of input from the community they claim to serve is very telling, isn’t it.
    also disheartening was the lack of notice to faculty so that they could start to secure future employment, or to students so that they could start to find alternative spaces (especially photographers and welders).
    and repulsive are the gag orders on faculty and staff.
    the founders of the educational alliance are rolling in their graves.
    shame on robin and the board that let her hoodwink them.

  5. Please join us (oc2sas) THIS Thursday, October 27th at 6pm in front of the Educational Alliance at 197 East Broadway. We are gathering together to send a message to the Educational Alliance that the current renovation plans for EA’s flagship building are unacceptable and unnecessary:
    *It’s unacceptable and unncecessary to move the Art School to a smaller basement space with low ceilings, small windows, and a lack of natural light.

    *It’s unacceptable and unncecessary to discontinue the popular classes in black and white darkroom photography and welding. It’s particularly shameful to discontinue black and white photography given the huge demand for it from area middle and high school students who participate in EA’s “Young Artists Program.”
    *It’s unacceptable and unnecessary for EA to claim that this is a choice between the Art School and additional programs for young children and seniors. It’s not. EA is planning to use the 5th floor mostly for a “multipurpose” room which they have admitted they plan on also using for weddings and Board and other VIP events. We understand that fundraising is important but we believe a very nice space for that function can be created on the first floor without adversely affecting the Art School. 

    Please note, we originally set our 6:00pm meeting so as not to interfere with the Educational Alliance’s planned 6:30 informational meeting. We plan on attending that meeting which is scheduled to take place in the sculpture studio immediately following our gathering downstairs. We hope you will join us downstairs AND later accompany us to the meeting upstairs. Lynn Appelbaum has informed us that Robin Bernstein, the Educational Alliance’s President and CEO, plans to attend the 6:30 meeting and give a response to our petition to the Board of Trustees.
    We hope to see you this Thursday, October 26th at 6pm. For more information about the meeting following our gathering please see below. You can sign our petition and find out more information about our efforts to preserve the essence and spirit of this historic and priceless resource of the Lower East Side at http://www.oc2sas.wordpress.com.

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