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Former Governors Island Coast Guard dorm converted to marine sciences school

A former U.S. Coast Guard dormitory on Governors Island has been converted to a school for marine sciences.

The New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) and the architectural firm of John Ciardullo, P.C. announced the completion of the Marine and Science Technology (MAST) Center at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School.

The MAST Center trains high school students pursuing careers in the fields of aquaculture and the marine sciences. JC served the SCA as architect, interior designer, and structural engineer for the new center.

The project team converted the former U.S. Coast Guard building into an education and research facility that serves both students and researchers.

The MAST Center is located at 134 Carder Road, within Governors Island Historic District. Governors Island is a 172-acre island in Upper New York Bay, situated approximately 800 yards from the southern tip of Manhattan Island.

John Ciardullo, R.A., principal of JC said the new $3.7 million center will allow the New York Harbor School’s students to develop ambitious aquaculture programs, such as oyster farming, as well as to build and maintain vessels, train in SCUBA diving, expand marine biology coursework, and undergo ship navigation training on a ship bridge simulator.

The project follows the architect’s design for the 2010 conversion of the former U.S. Coast Guard barracks and medical clinic on Governors Island into the current location of the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School.

The New York Harbor School, which serves 432 students in grades 9-12, is operated by the Urban Assembly, a New York City non-profit organization that establishes schools designed to train high school students in marine sciences, vocations and trades.

The Urban Assembly creates and supports unique, small public schools that are open to all students, scales up promising programs, and partners with hundreds of organizations in the private, public, non-profit and higher education sectors.

The New York Harbor School students learn to build and operate boats; spawn and harvest oysters; design submersible, remotely operated vehicles; conduct real-life research; and dive underwater. They also participate in the school’s on-going oyster restoration research program.

The maritime programs of the Harbor School are supported through funding provided by the New York Harbor Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the condition of, and promoting access to and education about, New York Harbor.

The aquaculture program at MAST center includes an on-site oyster hatchery, operated as a part of a long-term effort to produce 10 million oysters annually to help restore the marine life ecosystem in the New York Harbor area.

The hatchery is a part of the Billion Oysters Project (BOP) a large-scale plan to restore one billion live oysters to New York Harbor over the next 20 years and, in the process, train thousands of young people in New York City to restore the ecology and economy of their local marine environment.

DVL Consulting Engineers served as the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineer and Positive Electrical Associates, Inc. was the general contractor for the project.

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