Over the past three decades, the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) has located, designed, and constructed the most cutting edge educational and recreational facilities for New York City public school students. Since its creation, the SCA has provided more than 280,000 new school seats for New York City students, which includes the nation’s largest free Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK) network with approximately 11,000 seats under the Mayor’s UPK and 3-K initiatives. In addition, the SCA has protected, repaired and upgraded over 1,800 schools in over 1,400 school buildings, half of which are over 60 years old.
Our record has been exemplary and is always improving. The SCA has constructed an unprecedented number of schools and additions and completed thousands of capital improvement projects. More recently, the SCA has been hard at work upgrading electrical infrastructure in order to provide air conditioning (A/C) for every classroom in New York City by the end of 2021, one year ahead of schedule.
The SCA is also an integral partner in the City’s Universal Physical Education initiative to ensure all students have access to indoor space for physical education. In the first phase of the initiative, 21 schools will receive a new stand-alone gym while other schools will get upgraded facilities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SCA played a key role in the reopening of schools in coordination with over a dozen other City agencies. In partnership with DOE, we checked ventilation systems in over 137,000 rooms used by students and teachers at over 1,400 buildings in a matter of days, and we identified more than 110 sites for the expansion of school capacity for social distancing purposes, as well as for the Learning Bridges Program.
We have continued the City’s commitment to remove Transportable Classroom Units (TCUs) across the five boroughs. In fact, since 2015, we have removed or are in the process of removing all but the final 50 TCUs, and we continue to develop plans to remove those.
The SCA began the 2020-2021 school year opening eleven new schools/additions and leases, as well as ten 3-K Centers. Each location was opened on schedule despite being temporarily forced to pause due to the pandemic. These new facilities added over 5,500 much-needed seats in overcrowded districts. The ten 3-K Centers added 1,440 news seats for our youngest students.
In 2021, we look forward to opening eight new buildings and additions as well as three 3-K centers, and we’re on track to award dozens of capacity projects totaling over $1 billion. We’ll also be awarding hundreds of CIP projects totaling more than a billion.
The SCA also continues to set the standard with new milestones in minority business participation at the SCA. Since 2010, the SCA has committed over $4.3 billion in prime contracts to MWLBE businesses and over $3.1 billion in sub-contracts. We also developed a one-of-a-kind Mentor Program to grow and develop MWLBE contractors. Businesses participating in the program have won over $723 million in contracts.
I’m honored to lead an organization agency that keeps moving forward and is constantly innovating thanks to the dedication and hard work of SCA staff. As we enter our fourth decade of service, we remain committed to the mission at hand: providing better facilities and enhanced educational services for the City’s school children. Our energy and passion to accomplish these goals will never waver.