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Hockey rink, soccer field proposed for old school in Garden City

The St. Paul's School in Garden City was

The St. Paul's School in Garden City was built between 1871 and 1883. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Garden City officials are to unveil Tuesday potential plans for the development of the St. Paul’s School and seek community feedback on a proposal that would house a hockey rink and a soccer field inside the historic four-story building.

Mayor Brian Daughney said releasing the plans is just the first stage and the board of trustees wants to hear from residents. The village bought the vacant 180,000-square-foot building and surrounding 48 acres from the Episcopal Diocese in 1993.

“We did not want this going into private development hands to become whatever, a thousand development homes,” Daughney said. “This village has been trying to figure out what to do with the building since then, if anything.”

The Ruskinian Gothic-style building was built between 1871 and 1883 and features a clock and bell tour and stained glass windows. Its grounds are currently athletic fields used for village programs and some buildings are still in use by the village recreation department.

Daughney and Trustee Louis Minuto said residents have asked for more indoor recreational space in the village. Others also want the structure to be preserved.

“You’ve got this architectural treasure, really, and what do you do with it?” Minuto said.

In addition to the indoor hockey rink and the covered soccer field above it, initial renderings show a “flexible” space that could be used as a performance center or educational space, officials said.

The current structure is E-shaped. The current proposal would take part of the E and enclose the building to make it into a rectangle, while preserving the original entryway and other parts.

“The building is beautiful from the outside but it is deceiving,” said Carlos Cardoso, director of construction administration at the Manhattan-based Beyer Blinder Belle architecture firm involved in the project. “How do we weave the history of St. Paul’s and Garden City into this fabric with a modern component?”

Tuesday’s community forum is to be held at 7 p.m. at the Garden City Casino at 51 Cathedral Ave. Another presentation will be there on July 26 and others will be scheduled in the future.

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