Frederick Douglass Academy

New York, NY


Helpern Architects


$12 Million

As part of a new accessibility program for New York City schools, the addition of an exterior elevator, lobby tower and covered exterior scissor ramp to connect to a 4-story existing school building was required by the New York City School Construction Authority. The structure had to be substantially independent of the 50 year old existing building to minimize intrusive connections and strengthening operations during school occupancy.

The tower, which houses a hydraulic elevator with pit suspended from the deck, was designed for all gravity, wind and seismic loads with strict drift limits. Because of the structure’s location above the subway terminus, approval of the design by the New York City Transit Authority was necessary. Columns supporting the building and deck platform had to be reinforced but the design allowed jacking of beams to be avoided.