Bay Shore Armory Conversion into Universal Pre-Kindergarten Center

In 2011 state legislation was signed that allowed the ownership of the former New York State Armory site in Bay Shore, NY, to be transferred to the local school district. As part of the purchase, school officials agreed to renovate the vacant buildings by using allocated federal stimulus funds, and other funds raised locally. After a series of public meetings and discussions with the local interest groups, the decision was made to adaptively reuse the property as a modern Universal Pre-Kindergarten Center.

Located on 4 acres just south of Sunrise Highway, the original Bay Shore Armory property includes two large buildings, the former Drill Hall/Head House and the Garage/Maintenance Building. After a thorough needs analysis, BBS has ascertained that both these structures could be utilized in accommodating the proposed preschool programs; several flexible arrangements and possible facility configurations were presented to the District for consideration.

In the end, the former 17,900-square-foot “Drill Hall” and “Head House” were re-designed as a new Cafeteria/Multi-functional Commons area, and a separate 12,000-square-foot Garage/Maintenance Building to the south was re-purposed to house 12 new classrooms. A third, brand-new structure designed by BBS will connect the two original buildings; it will feature a light-filled lobby with an entrance vestibule/ canopy, both intended to significantly mark the main entry on Brentwood Road. The connector building will also contain flexible library and media space, administrative offices, and support areas.

The ultimate plan is to build a fourth structure on the property, which would abut the proposed Cafeteria/Commons and add 10 new classrooms. With this proposed building addition, the new pre-K facility will reach 39,800 square feet of educational space – allowing the District to accommodate all of its preschoolers at the one location.

With this unique example of re-purposing existing community buildings for alternative use, the BBS team fully embraced sustainability as a means of delivering 21st-century education environments – while bringing life to a once abandoned facility. As of January 2020, the former Bay Shore Armory has been abated of all hazardous materials, and the south building has already been fully gutted and the construction of new classrooms is on-going.