Bushwick Leaders' High School (BLHS) has a storied and historic presence on Bushwick Avenue. This structure was constructed in 1860 and began its life as a “Home for the Aged” administered by the Little Sisters of the Poor. This building 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 building had incurred extensive damage. Existing wooden cornices suffered from decay, masonry exhibited cracks and spalling, and water had flooded the basement. An investigation also revealed that the existing brick wall assembly suffered from a combination of deteriorated back up masonry, voids of varying sizes, and corroded steel components. Nelligan White undertook a complete exterior rehabilitation that included a masonry replacement campaign as well as parapet and roof replacement and installation of 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. Our team created a new approach to address these design issues. Instead, we overclad the main building with new brick and adjoining details such as eaves, windows, and doors were relocated or modified to accommodate the change. Additionally, the wooden cornice was replaced with a simulated masonry cornice and custom copper gutter to match the historic profile.
The building’s 17 additions all hail from different periods of the school’s existence. This resulted in several unique roof conditions and challenging intersections. To address this, the team administered unique detailing that allowed the new cold fluid applied roofing system to merge seamlessly with the historic slate and copper.