For 10 years, like a child of divorce whose parents share custody, Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan Head Steven Lorch, top right, was constantly shuttling back and forth from one home to another, crossing Central Park at least once, often twice, a day.
Now, with the Conservative day school’s nine grades finally united in one permanent space, on the sunny second floor of a brand-new building at Columbus Avenue and 100th Street, Lorch says he can “do the job I was hired to do: be a principal.”
Founded in 1996 with Lorch at the helm, the k-8 school has spent most of its life with half the grades housed on the Upper East Side (in classrooms donated by Park Avenue Synagogue) and half on the Upper West Side (in space rented from the Society for the Advancement of Judaism.)
Two weeks ago, Schechter’s 125 students enjoyed their first day in the 13,000-square-feet new home and ever since, Lorch says, “the teachers and kids have been walking around with perpetual silly smiles on their faces.”
“They have so much space to spread out now, and it’s so inviting, so homey. It adds to the family feeling of the school.” Not only are the teachers finally able to see all their colleagues on an everyday basis, but the younger students get to mingle with the older ones in the hall and at various mixed-grade activities.
“The way it’s laid out now, everyone is visible to everyone else, and children from every grade are interacting now,” Lorch says.