Marguerite G. Rhodes School

In 2016, BBS developed a long-term facility master plan to the representatives of the Hempstead Public School District, which outlined several paths to addressing the issues facing the district: aging infrastructure, most of the district’s schools operating at or over their capacity, district-wide use of portable classrooms – some of them leased, and steadily rising enrollment. In conjunction with the master plan, BBS presented possible solutions and, ultimately, a proposal was set in motion to construct a new elementary school, which would eliminate nearly half of outdated portable classrooms, and provide space for the Hempstead’s increasing student population, expected to reach more than 9,000 by 2025.

Closed since 2004, the Marguerite G. Rhodes School presented a great opportunity for implementing the district’s long-term vision. The school 1.39 acre site allowed for construction of the new elementary school without disrupting other district facilities and provide for extra capacity and “swing space” in future if needed. Following a year’s long planning process by BBS, a budget proposition to authorize a $46.8-million project to demolish and replace the long-closed Rhodes School, went in front of the district voters in May 2018 and was decisively approved.

The Hempstead Public School District and community had a specific goal for the design of its new 76,000-sf PK-5 elementary school on Washington Street: to ensure that the legacy of Marguerite G. Rhodes – a former school principal – was reflected and honored in the new facility. To tie Rhode’s legacy into the new building, BBS worked closely with district staff and administrators to create an inspiring, future-ready learning environment with ample connections to the outdoors.

Today, each learning space of the new Rhodes school is designed as a flexible learning environment with the ability to adapt to different teaching and learning styles. The classrooms are clustered around open corridors and common areas. The Library, PK-K, and Special Ed/ESL spaces are located on the ground level of the building with direct access to the outdoor play and physical ed areas, grades 1-2 on the 2nd level, and grades 3-5 occupying the upper levels of the new school. The Gymatorium and Cafeteria, serving the population of approximately 700 students, adjoin the main building on the lower level.

The new Marguerite G. Rhodes School creates one of the most technologically advanced public PK-5 facilities on Long Island. It engages students of multi-cultural backgrounds in a 21st century education, creating an effective environment to maximize student learning experience and potential for the future. The school is scheduled to open for the 2021-2022 school year.