Since 2012, an enthusiastic group of parents – called the PS 199 Science Center committee – has been working very hard to raise funds to build a greenhouse learning lab at PS 199. The PS 199 Science Center will be a 21st-century facility where children can engage in scientific exploration and discovery, combining state- of-the-art systems and equipment with the basic ingredients of soil, water and ladybugs! The vision of the science center is to encourage grade school children to embrace science while making educated choices about their impact on the environment. The laboratory will be built to accommodate a small urban farm and environmental science laboratory to further STEM education in New York City.
Initially the hope was to put the greenhouse on the roof of the school. But raising the needed funds was difficult and the cost of the project went up every year, eventually approaching $2 million.
Principal Louise Xerri, school custodial engineer Theresa DiCristi, the PTA leaders, and the current Science Center committee members worked together to find a way to build the greenhouse at a lower cost. With the help of the architects and engineers who have been working with the school on this project, a new location was identified and a new design was created at half the price of the original. The Science Center committee had been continuing to pursue funding during this time and, by the summer of 2015, had achieved its fundraising goal. The PS 199 Science Center has been almost entirely funded by public officials Gale Brewer, Helen Rosenthal, Linda Rosenthal and Scott Stringer. It has also been supported by the PTA and a handful of dedicated individuals.
The PS 199 Science Center will be built in the raised area along the northwest corner of the school bordering 70th street. It is scheduled to open in the fall of 2016. Once up and running, the Science Center will be able to be shared with others in our community.
The Science Center committee hosts the school’s annual Earth Day celebration, always has a table at the Holiday Party, and presents individual events such as Dirt Day.