Monday, November 29, 2021

After 6 Years Of Planning, Fundraising & Construction, Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Green Roof Opened Today With Ribbon Cutting And First Plantings By Students - This Is Freaking Beautiful Says Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

After more than 6 years of planning, fundraising and construction, Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 Green Roof opened today with a ribbon cutting and first plantings by students.

 NYC Council Member Ben Kallos hosted the PS/IS 217 Green Roof Ribbon Cutting Ceremony saying:

What a wonderful day to be  here on the new PS/IS 217 Roosevelt Island Green Roof which is officially open for business... 

PS/IS 217 Principal Mandana Beckman remarked:

As principal, it is my great pleasure to welcome all of you to the opening of the Roosevelt Island School-- Green Roof. And what a roof it is! The purpose and beauty of its design, landscaping, materials and setting are so obvious that this space in which we find ourselves, seems to speak for itself.... 

... We have waited so long to be here today. The green roof is a wonderful addition to our facility. As is usually the case, wonderful things take a lot of work and in this case that work was done by a lot of people. It is appropriate at this ceremony to assure those who worked so hard that we will make the most of their creation and it is appropriate that we thank them: 

For the initial concept, we thank Ms. Fokine, who was inspired by her trip to Japan.  

We thank Christina Delfico who took that dream to its first steps of realization.  

For funding Council Member Kallos, Assembly Member Seawright, Manhattan Borough President Brewer, Congresswoman Maloney and NY State Senator Serrano who backed this project.
For our PTA and RI community constituents who got out the vote and championed our vision - RIOC, RIRA, Roosevelt Island Garden Club, the Girl Scouts, and Roosevelt Island Parent Network. 

For the designers Mary Rice, Abel, Bainnson & Butz who heard what we wanted and realized our vision in their plans. 

For our construction team led by Muhammed Siqb Arshed  

And for our Custodial EngineerJeff Atkins and the custodial staff who has tended this space in all its stages of completion. 

And we thank forward all those who will tend this incredible space and make it a vibrant learning, a multi-enriching and a spiritually healing place.

 Roosevelt Island Girl Scout Troop 3001 has advocated for the Green Roof since 2015. Troop Leader Yitza Martinez and two Girl Scouts spoke at today's event.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer said of the new PS/IS 217 Green Roof:

This is freaking beautiful...

The current Roosevelt Island PS/IS 217 PTA thanked the prior PTA's for all their work getting the Green Roof built.

NYC Schools District 2 Superintendent Kelly McGuire thanked everybody involved in the Green Roof project.

Roosevelt Island Operating Corp President Shelton Haynes said the PS/IS 217 Green Roof:

... is a testament of when community and government work together great things happen, so congratulations. We're very excited about this space...

And this all began in 2015 with the Roosevelt Island Girl Scouts campaigning for Participatory Budget funding from Council Member Kallos.

According to this press release from NYC Council Member Ben Kallos:

Students at PS/IS 217 have a new educational green space on their roof, thanks to funding from Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Borough President Gale Brewer, Council Member Ben Kallos, and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright. Today they celebrated completion of the project, including a ceremonial planting.

$1 million in funding for this project comes from Council Member Ben Kallos, which was allocated from participatory budgeting that the school won in 2015 and 2016 thanks to the advocacy of the Roosevelt Island Community. Borough President Brewer funded $250,000 and Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright contributed $500,000 to the project.

To win funding through participatory budgeting, the whole Roosevelt Island community worked together to turn out a winning number of votes. Community members that advocated for the project include the PS/IS 217 PTA, Girl Scout Troops 3001 and 3244, Roosevelt Island Garden Club, Roosevelt Island Parents’ Network, Sharon Bermon from the NYPL Roosevelt Island Branch, and community activist Christina Delfico.  

“STEM education is a vital part of shaping our future generation of leaders,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “I am excited to celebrate the completion of PS/IS 217’s green roof, which will provide students with the opportunity to play and learn in new ways. I look forward to seeing all that the school is able to accomplish with this space.”

“I am thrilled to be here at the opening of the new educational green roof at PS/IS 217,” said Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. “Giving the next generation of leaders the tools to excel in STEM starts in the classroom, and I am proud that our City schools are at the cutting edge of ensuring just that. I thank Councilmember Kallos, Borough President Brewer, and Assemblywoman Seawright for our ongoing partnership in ensuring New York City’s students are at the forefront of learning.”

“I’m excited to be able to celebrate the completion of the green roof at PS/IS 217, a project that will provide educational space to learn about the importance of protecting our environment,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I know that this space will benefit students for years to come by acting as a learning hub for 21st century skills and advancing scientific and environmental knowledge, in addition to supporting our city’s climate resiliency efforts by keeping the roof cooler, acting as an insulator, saving heating and cooling costs, helping to protect the school from environmental wear and tear, as well as reduce noise.”

“As a member of the Assembly Education Committee, proud public school parent and former PTA activist, I was please to award PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island with $500,000 for the creation of a Green Roof and construction of a STEM learning Hub. Our students deserve a safe place to learn and play. I commend Principal Mandana Beckman, school leadership, and PTA for seeing this through for the benefit of students and educations at PS/IS 217,” said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.  

“This green roof provides flexible outdoor classroom space for educational gardening, theater and performing arts, and general student education, and recreation,” SCA President and CEO Nina Kubota said. “It’s a great example of the SCA’s steadfast commitment to provide enhanced educational services and better facilities for the City’s kids and the teachers and staff who serve them.”
“So many people had a small role in making a big impact,” says local sustainability advocate Christina Delfico. “This roof top project proves that community, schools, and government can create a sea of wide open green space to excite students in every subject of learning.”...

Learn more about Green Roofs from this 2015 visit to the Randall's Island NYC Parks Department 5 Boro Green Roof Garden.