Posted on December 21, 2023
Tags: ,
Categories: News from SDP

Yesterday, the School District of Philadelphia celebrated the newly constructed Thomas M. Peirce School with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. This $43.9M project provides students with a state-of-the-art facility and is the first public elementary school built in North Philadelphia in over seven decades. 

“We believe that all children deserve a state-of-the-art learning environment,” said Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D. “We know that our students’ perceptions of building conditions are related to their feelings of belonging, safety, and trust at their schools. This is one of the reasons that improving physical, social-emotional, and environmental safety and well-being is the first priority area in Accelerate Philly, the School District of Philadelphia’s five-year strategic plan to achieve the Board of Education’s Goals and Guardrails. This new building is one of the first steps toward achieving that goal.”

The new 77,000-square-foot elementary school replaced a building built in 1909 and has the capacity to serve 500 students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. The building was designed for a LEED Gold Certification from the U.S Green Building Council, an esteemed green building rating. Following  the ribbon cutting and brief remarks, there were guided tours of the building.

“T.M. Pierce, much like the Sayre Pool project and the upcoming Cassidy School in West Philly, represents the power of resources, collaboration, and execution and the equitable distribution of District resources,” said Board President Reginald L. Streater, Esq. “We are investing in neighborhoods and students that have been unjustly, by some, deemed unworthy of such investment. Today is a testament to the fact that when we come together, incredible possibilities happen for our Learners.”

In January, students will be welcomed back from winter break to their new school building featuring 20 traditional classrooms, two classrooms for electives, a gymnatorium, a cafeteria, a digital lab, makerspace, and an Integrated Media Center (IMC).

“As the proud principal of Thomas May Peirce, it is an honor to welcome you to this historic moment in the North Philadelphia Community and to the new home of Thomas May Peirce Elementary School,” said Anthony Gordon, Principal of T.M. Peirce. “I would like to express my utmost appreciation to our students, families, and staff for their unwavering resilience throughout the years. The fruit of our labor is the creation of a 21st Century Learning Environment right here in the 19132 zip code.”

Blackney Hayes Architects designed the highly-efficient building LEED. Additional primary contractors and union labor that built this 21st Century LEED-inspired Learning Center include BSI Construction, Devine Brothers Plumbing, EJ Electric, Allstate Mechanical, and various minority and women-owned businesses that supported this project,

“Today marks the culmination of a vision that goes beyond bricks and mortar. The vision was not simply about constructing a building; it’s about creating a space where knowledge flourishes, curiosity is nurtured, and the future is shaped,” said Oz Hill, Chief Operating Officer for the School District of Philadelphia. “The T.M. Peirce School is much more than a structure; it’s a gleaming beacon of hope and aspiration, a dynamic hub that will strengthen community bonds; a place where students, teachers, parents, and the community can collaborate to create an environment that not only nurtures the academic success of our young scholars, but a space that also inspires self-discovery and personal growth.”

Improving physical learning spaces is part of the District’s new five-year strategic plan, Accelerate Philly, and part of the District’s efforts to become the fastest-improving large, urban school district in the country. This is one of four construction projects currently in progress in the District. The others include the AMY at James Martin School, Lewis C. Cassidy Academics Plus School, and Thomas Holme Elementary School. This is also the fourth newly constructed school since 2021, joining Powel/SLAMS, Northeast Propel Academy, and Solomon Solis-Cohen.