Bushwick Leaders' High School (BLHS) has maintained a significant presence on Bushwick Avenue for many decades with its historical significance. This structure was constructed in 1860 and began its life as a “Home for the Aged” administered by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and would serve the elderly until being sold to the New York City Department of Education in 1971.
After 140 years of use, with only provisional repairs, the extensive damage needed to be addressed. The existing wooden cornices suffered from decay. Cracked/spalled masonry could be found throughout, and water flooded the basement. Investigations revealed that the existing brick wall assembly suffered from a combination of deteriorated back up masonry, voids of varying sizes, and corroded steel elements. Nelligan White undertook a complete exterior rehabilitation with a masonry replacement campaign as well as a complete roof replacement, parapet replacement and a new stormwater detention-tank system for flood elimination.
At the main building, the existing face brick could not be removed due to the load-bearing requirements of the sloped roof above therefore a new approach was required. That building was overclad with new brick, and the adjoining details – eaves, window, doors, etc. – were relocated or modified to accommodate the change. The wooden cornice was replaced with a simulated masonry cornice to match the existing profile and housed a built-in custom copper gutter.
The 17 additions that comprise this building all hail from different decades over the last 140 years, resulting in many unique roof conditions and challenging intersections which required unique detailing in order to merge the now cold fluid applied roofing system seamlessly and unobtrusively with the historic slate and copper.