Green roof plans looking up at 75 Morton school

A design rendering of the renovated 75 Morton St., which is set to open in fall 2017. Plans are now for the school to sport a green rooftop.
A design rendering of the renovated 75 Morton St., which is set to open in fall 2017. Plans are now for the school to sport a green rooftop.

BY MICHAEL OSSORGUINE | The new middle school at 75 Morton St. will be getting a green roof as part of the public school’s construction.

In 2013, Community Board 2 passed a resolution supporting the construction of green roofs. In 2014, the 75 Morton Community Alliance — a grassroots group involved with starting up the new school — attended a C.B. 2 public envisioning meeting, at which they presented the idea for a green roof topping the planned middle school, M.S. 297, along with green roofs for four other schools.

Finally, this winter, C.B. 2 submitted grant applications for “Resolution A” funding — school-specific capital-improvement or -enhancement grants — that would enable the School Construction Authority to build the proposed green roofs.

Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Councilmember Corey Johnson and Borough President Gale Brewer allocated a combined $500,000 for the project — $200,000 each from Johnson and Glick and $100,000 from Brewer. “Resolution A” funding is also used for upgrades to schools’ auditoriums, science labs and other infrastructure.

According to Jeannine Kiely, Chairperson of the C.B. 2 Schools and Education Committee, the green roof has not been designed yet, but is in the preliminary stages.

Once the project is fully designed, the S.C.A. can begin construction. Kiely said the project will likely take inspiration from other green roofs, such as ones completed ones at Greenwich Village’s P.S. 41 and the East Village’s Earth School and P.S. 64. The future principal of M.S. 297, Jacqui Getz, is helping to design the roof, Kiely said.

Unfortunately, this new green roof may not be as extensive as these earlier ones, which cost between $1 and $1.8 million apiece, and contain irrigation systems, composting areas, outdoor patios and other aesthetically pleasing design features.

These planted rooftops’ functions are not limited to natural beauty. Children will be able to plant gardens and study plant life during science classes in hands-on exercises. At P.S. 41, the feature is called a Green Roof Environmental Literacy Laboratory, and is used for chemistry, biology and math classes.

M.S. 297, which will open in fall 2017, is one of three schools to receive funding for rooftop construction from Brewer recently.

The B.P. also allocated $100,000 to fund a greenhouse and vertical gardens at City-As-School High School, on Clarkson St., and another $100,000 for a Green Roof at the NYC iSchool, at Sixth Ave. and Broome St.