La Salle Academy to MoveTo New Manhattan Site in Fall



La Salle Academy, which has operated a Catholic high school for boys on Second Street in lower Manhattan since 1856, is moving to a new site in the neighborhood in September.

Citing a major budget deficit and a significant amount of repairs needed on the school building at 44 E. Second St., La Salle has leased two floors of St. George Ukrainian Catholic School on East Sixth Street and will move its classrooms and instructional support services there.

"We'll remain two very independent schools, but we're very excited to be cooperating and sharing the building," William C. Hambleton, president of La Salle, told CNY.

An announcement said that La Salle, which is sponsored by the Brothers of the Christian Schools, will have "prominent signage and architectural changes designed to replicate the ambience of our present home" when it relocates.

La Salle, which has an enrollment of 365 students, has leased the third and fourth floors of St. George's, an elementary school. The two schools will share use of the gym, the lunchroom and the library, but will otherwise be separate.

The 74-year-old La Salle school building and an adjacent residence for the Christian Brothers have been leased to a private school that provides a British-style education to children of UK families in New York.

The Christian Brothers will move to the upper floors of the La Salle Academy Annex, a third building owned by La Salle on Second Street. The three buildings—the school, the residence and the annex—will remain in La Salle ownership.

Some administrative offices of La Salle Academy, including the president's office and the development and alumni offices, also will be located in the annex building, Hambleton said.

"The principal, the vice principal, the counselors and all of the support staff for the students will be at the new site," he added.

The British school will undertake renovations as part of the lease agreement, and the La Salle community will renovate the top floors of the annex to convert them into a brothers' residence.

La Salle's lease with St. George and the British school's lease with La Salle are coterminus. Each of them runs for 15 years, with options for five-year renewals.

"It gives us the revenue stream that we need," Hambleton said of the lease arrangement. He said La Salle would have sufficient income to operate, even after paying rent to St. George.

La Salle serves boys from low-income families, about 60 percent of whom live in various places in Manhattan and the rest in other boroughs.

The school has operated at a deficit for several years, which had been covered by loans from the New York Province of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. That loan reached its limit last year, however, and the school projected a $300,000 deficit.

La Salle explored a possible real estate project involving mixed-use development in the Second Street area, but the financial downturn ruled that out, Hambleton said.

He said reaction of parents, staff and alumni has been generally positive about the pending move, although a few alumni are nostalgic.

"This was a decision of the board of trustees, and the board is made up principally of alumni," he said. "I think everybody recognizes that it's really our mission that needs to be preserved, not merely the building. And in this economy, this was the best thing for us to do."