Photo Essay

Public Works Administration and schools in New York City

Photo Essays | ByMargaret Moslander | Education, Infrastructure, Role of government

Dec. 21, 2011 — Photos of some of the schools built in New York City with Public Works Administration assistance. Data on costs and completion date come from the PWA publication, “Allotments for Educational Building Construction: List of Projects, by State and County, showing the number of buildings and classrooms with student capacity, the total estimated cost and amount of allotment with loan and grant portions.”add note about inflation adjustment." We cross-referenced this documentation with the listings contained in the county-by-county breakdowns of projects contained in the legislation-specific listings identified in our note on data visualization sources, and also relied on information on New Deal era school construction provided upon request by the New York City Department of Education. Inflation adjustment is calculated based on the year of the legislaton from which a project’s funding was obtained. In some cases, insufficient information was available to distinguish between highly similar projects built under the same bill, in which case we note that we are providing aggregate cost information.

This photo essay is part of the story, “When the federal government dared to act”.

  • Construction on Andrew Jackson High School (now the Campus Magnet High School), located in St. Albans, Queens, was completed in May 1937. The PWA allocated $22,938,367 to the project, $4,132,500 in loans and $18,805,867 in grants (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • The PWA allocated $1,916,200 to City College of the City University of New York for improvements, which were completed in December 1936. The allocation included $1,367,470 in loans and $548,730 in grants (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars), which was used to rewire the college buildings. (Credit: Aloucha, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
  • Construction on Curtis High School, located in the St. George neighborhood of Staten Island, was completed in December 1936. The PWA allocated $7,274,853 to the project, all in the form of a grant (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • The PWA allocated a total of $2,943,994 to Hunter College, located in midtown Manhattan, for improvements completed over the course of 1937 and 1938. The PWA allocated a total of $51,284,375 to Hunter College, located in midtown Manhattan, for improvements completed over the course of 1937 and 1938. $50,430,795 of those funds were in the form of grants, and $853,580 of the funds were in the form of a loan (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: Nicole Marti, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
  • IS 239 (originally PS 239) was constructed in 1937 using PWA funding for four schools, totaling $36,924,019 (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). The school is located in Coney Island in Brooklyn. (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Construction on PS 191, located in the Weeksville neighborhood of Brooklyn, was completed in 1938. Construction was funded by a PWA allocation to build two elementary schools in Brooklyn. The joint allocation totaled $10,645,371 (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • PS 253, located in Prospect Park South, Brooklyn, was constructed in 1938 using funds from a PWA grant to build two elementary schools. The joint PWA allocation was $10,645,371. (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Construction on Bayside High School, located in Bay Terrace, Queens, was completed in December 1936. The PWA allocated a total of $36,011,913 to the project, $25,781,600 of which was a loan and $10,230,313 a grant(2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Construction on IS 234 (originally PS 234) was completed in 1937. The school, located in the Homecrest neighborhood of Brooklyn, was received a portion of the funding allocated for four schools in Brooklyn. The joint allocation for the four schools was $36,924,019 (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Construction on Jane Addams High School was completed in August 1937. The school, located on Tinton Avenue in the Bronx, received a total of $7,695,442 in PWA funding (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars), the entirety of which was in the form of a grant. (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • PS 127, located in East Corona, Queens, was completed in February 1937. The PWA allocated $1,805,604 to the project in the form of a grant (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Construction on PS 108, located in the Morris Park neighborhood in the Bronx, was completed in 1938. The school was built with $3,071,475 in PWA funding in the form of a grant (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Construction on PS 162, in Flushing, Queens, was completed in June 1937 with a grant from the PWA totaling $1,776,479 (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Construction on PS 166, located in Long Island City, Queens, was completed in January 1938. The total PWA allocation was $5,012,061, the entirety of which was a grant (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • PS 146, located in Howard Beach, Queens, was constructed in 1936 using funds allocated by the PWA for three elementary schools. The joint allocation for the three schools totaled $27,157,989 (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: New York City School Construction Authority)
  • Brooklyn College, located in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn, was completed in October 1937 using PWA funds. The total allocation from the PWA was $44,631,000, $3,719,250 of which was a loan and $40,911,750 was a grant (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: U.S. Government Printing Office)
  • Construction on Franklin K. Lane High School, located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, was completed in September 1937. The school was built using $34,238,644 in PWA funds, $3,227,700 of which was a loan and $11,356,154 of which was a grant (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: U.S. Government Printing Office)
  • The Automotive Trades Vocational High School, located in the North Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, finished construction in November 1937. The school was financed by the PWA, which allocated $12,786,280 in loans and $4,140,346 in grants, for a total of $17,926,626 (2011 inflation-adjusted dollars). (Credit: A.J. Candy, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)