Hundreds of Upper East Side public school students will soon have access to the same state-of-the-art athletic center usually reserved only for children whose families can afford the more than $60,000 a year tuition of the private school which owns the complex. It’s part of a very unique agreement by the Department of Education facilitated by City Council Member Julie Menin.
Under the plan, The Spence School— the renowned all-girls private school located here on the Upper East Side— will allow PS 527, located on East 91st Street, and the Yorkville Community School on East 88th Street, to use their new six story ‘Spence 412’ athletic center, which officially opened last September, for physical education classes— free of charge.
Currently, at PS 527, an auditorium is being used for gym class, according to Menin’s office, while the Yorkville Community School— known as PS 151— is holding their P.E. classes for kids in two converted classrooms.
“I am so thrilled to be able to facilitate this agreement between the Department of Education, The Spence School, and PS 151 and PS 527 so that our children can have the dedicated physical education space that all students deserve,” said Council Member Julie Menin, who represents the UES.
“School children should not be forced to have gym class or recess in closed streets, cafeterias, or classrooms,” she added.
The Spence School’s 65,000 square foot facility— located at 412 East 90th Street between First and York Avenues— includes a regulation size gymnasium and nine squash courts, as well as a student center, multipurpose performing space and an ecology center with a greenhouse and rooftop garden.
The rare agreement by the DOE– which indemnifies The Spence School from liability if someone gets hurt or sick on their property– gives public school kids access to a facility typically only included with tuition to the Spence School, which for the 2022-2023 school year is $60,880, plus fees.
“We are excited that PS 151 and PS 527 will be utilizing our gymnasium at Spence 412 as a part of our community outreach program, said Felicia Wilks, Head of The Spence School.
“This is an essential part of our mission and Spence’s membership in the Yorkville community.”