New Bishop Woods School Opens
The dedication ceremony of Bishop Woods School on Quinnipiac Avenue was held in October 2009. At this event, the playground was re-dedicated to former Alderman Eddie Clifford who, along with his family, who joined the ribbon cutting of the new outdoor recreational facility.
The new Bishop Woods School opened September 2, 2009, on the same site as the previous school. The original Bishop Woods School served the northeastern portion of the city since 1969, as a neighborhood Pre-K-4. It was demolished in 2007 to make way for the new school.
Located on Quinnipiac Avenue, Bishop Woods School abuts a wooded area that serves as a natural environment for a variety of bird and plant species. The land was donated in 1928 to the City of New Haven by Dr. Louis B. Bishop, a physician and ornithologist. Dr. Bishop, a charter member of the New Haven Bird Club (founded on April 3, 1907), requested a portion of the land he donated be used as a bird sanctuary.
The new school is developed on 4.25 acres of land, of which .65 acres is utilized for the building footprint. Several acres are utilized to increase the parking capacity and circulation, as well as create a more visible and safe entrance/egress for parkland accessibility and better ATV controls for the parkland.
The challenge has been to design a school that meets the needs of the students and at the same time blend with the beauty of the woods and surrounding community. This sentiment was shared by architect Jim La Posta of JCJ Architecture when he said, “We are thrilled with the opportunity to develop a school which can be integrated with its natural environment and the surrounding community. Sites that present challenges like this one tell us how to design the building and are far more interesting in engaging the children and community in creating a comprehensive learning environment.” The school’s design supports and facilitates the learning needs of students who range in age from 3 to 14 years old.
As a new Pre-K-8 school, Bishop Woods has state-of-the-art technology to enhance the learning needs of students in the 21st Century. As Bishop Woods expands, there will be two classes per grade level. Bishop Woods School has a regulation size gymnasium and a separate cafeteria which can be used as an auditorium. Within the cafeteria is a stage complete with theater lighting and sound system. The school also has a large library/media center with an adjacent computer lab for 28 students, a science lab, separate art and music facilities, classrooms equipped with interactive technology, and additional spaces throughout the school to provide opportunities for students to dialogue about their learning.
The principal, Barbara Chock, says, “The completion of the new Bishop Woods School as a state-of-the-art facility provides our students with a learning environment that enables them to be technologically skillful to navigate and succeed within our global society. The students, staff and parents are happy to return to our original site after two years of being housed in separate buildings. “
The Percent for Art commissioned Sam Weiner, a Yale graduate and renowned New York artist, to construct an abstract representation of the environment which abuts the woods and bird sanctuary. Mr. Weiner created “Fall,” a hanging mobile suggestive of cellular growth as in trees. It is suspended from the ceiling in the two story main entry area of the school, where it is visible from the first floor and second floor atrium.