Situated in the Baychester neighborhood of the East Bronx, PS 89 X is an early example of the “M-Type” school building typology, widely used between the years 1929-1942. Designed by Walter C. Martin, PS 89 X was constructed in 1927, with additions following in 1929 and 1938. The present 98,000 sq ft structure stands four stories tall, plus a cellar and provides for a student population of approximately 1,220 students.
The U-shaped “M-Type” style of PS 89 X and over 120 similar schools of its type, represent Martin’s dedication to continuing the work of his predecessor, after succeeding former Superintendent of Buildings, William Gompert. Developed by Gompert, the Type-M plan derived as a modification of the “Type-E” U-plan, which would be Snyder’s final contribution to the field of urban school design and construction. Gompert’s development of the U-plan was prompted by the City’s rapid population growth and prosperous economy during the 1920s. The style was noted for its systematic expandability, an innovation first explored with Type-E buildings. This layout anticipated the growth of the school with space for two wings to be added, as student population increased.
The New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA) has conducted several major projects at PS 89 X in recent years, including window replacement and exterior masonry work in 1999 and a full exterior modernization in 2002, including roofs, parapets and exterior masonry. Despite the repair campaigns carried out at PS 89 X, water-infiltration continued to cause damage throughout the building interior, most significantly along the eastern and northern facades. Cracking and deterioration of the face-brick masonry, terracotta cornice elements and rusting lintels were apparent throughout.
The deterioration of the cornice became severe enough, that a large piece of the terracotta fell from the south-east corner of the building. Sidewalk sheds were erected immediately. After that damage, a new campaign and investigation was launched.