After withdrawing plans last year to convert a cluster of houses on Loyola Avenue into a new early childhood education center, the Isidore Newman School is now planning a new facility for its preschool students on the Soniat Street side of campus, officials say.
Newman’s plans will be discussed tonight by Freret Neighbors United, which meets at 6 p.m. at Samuel J. Green Charter School, 2319 Valence Street.
A letter from Newman’s leaders about the project to the surrounding neighborhoods follows:
Dear Newman Community,
For many years Newman has considered improving and expanding its Early Childhood facility. Plans have been delayed at one time or another for various circumstances. There are compelling reasons for Newman to expand our efforts in this area now:
- Newman’s current Early Childhood program has been filled to capacity with waiting lists for several years.
- There is a demand in the Newman community as well as in New Orleans for more high quality early childhood programs and increased spaces within those programs.
- A new facility for our Early Childhood program is an investment in the program as well as an investment in the future of Newman and New Orleans.
We are proud to report that we will be moving ahead on an expansion that will include a new facility on the Soniat Street side of campus. Newman’s Board of Governors has approved this project as a strategic priority for the School. We are working toward a planned opening date of August 2014 for the new facility.
Some of you may remember that we planned previously to expand Early Childhood on property Newman owns on Loyola Avenue across from the Lower School. In the end, the site limited Newman’s ability to provide a facility that would meet our needs and expectations now and in the future. The plans for the new Early Childhood Center on the Soniat Street site are still being developed, but we look forward to sharing more details including preliminary drawings soon.
We have begun conversations with neighborhood association leaders, City Council, and City Planning about this project. We ask for your help and support in being Newman ambassadors for this project with our neighbors and for bringing any concerns that you may hear to our attention. We also will schedule a public meeting for neighbors very soon and will share with you the date of the meeting with neighbors so that you can attend if your schedule permits.
The Early Childhood project leader is Jennifer Wollfarth who is co-chairing the effort with the Vice Chair of the Board of Governors, Ann Thompson ’74. Kristin Blanchfield is our liaison and primary contact point for our neighbors. If you have any specific questions, please share with Kristin Blanchfield, Jennifer Wollfarth, or one of us.
We are very excited about this endeavor and appreciate your support and help with this important capital improvement for our school community. Thank you.
T.J. Locke Dale Smith Head of School Associate Head of School