Washington Irving High School (New York City)
The Washington Irving Campus, formerly Washington Irving High School, is located at 40 Irving Place between East 16th and 17th Streets in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City, near Union Square. It is a New York City public school facility run by the city's Department of Education.
The school is named after writer Washington Irving. The building in which the school is located was designed by the architect C.B.J. Snyder and built in 1913. The original building is eight stories high, though the extension on 16th Street designed by Walter C. Martin and built in 1938, is eleven stories high.
The school had been located on Lafayette Street, but because the student population was growing at a rapid rate, a decision was made to move the school to another location, and land was purchased at 40 Irving Place. The school started out as a branch of Wadleigh High School, known at first as Girls' Technical High School, the first school for girls in the city. In 1913 the name changed to Washington Irving. Many years later the school became co-ed. Currently there are more than 2,000 students.
As of September 2012, the Washington Irving School Campus is shared by four independent schools: Washington Irving High School, the High School for Language and Diplomacy, Gramercy Arts High School and the Academy for Software Engineering.
Closure and new schools
New York City DOE announced in December 2011 that WIHS would be one of two high schools to be closed by summer 2015. The school is to be replaced with a new school which has not yet been named. Among the reasons for closing include a graduation rate of 48%.
Interior and exterior
The school's interior varies. The lobby's walls are covered by wood panels, and toward the ceiling there are murals depicting the history of New York. Many are by the noted muralist, Barry Faulkner. In the middle of the lobby, there is a grand decorative fireplace. Guests enter the building through the main door, which is opposite the fireplace. Above the fireplace are statues of women carved from a single piece of white stone; the statues are covered by the American flag. On the second floor and above, the walls are white, the doors are red, and the floors are black. The exterior is limestone up to the second story, then gray brick trimmed with limestone. On the corner of Irving Place and 17th Street is a bust of Washington Irving by Friedrich Beer, which is featured on the school's ID. The exterior was used in the TV sit-com Head of the Class. The school's auditorium is located in the middle, between the left and the right wings. It is usually accessed only from the lobby, but has seats on the second level. There are many performances held at the auditorium, by students and outside artists.
Each day students enter the building from East 16th Street, swipe their ID cards, and go through metal detectors while their belongings go through an security X-ray scanner. As per the New York City Schools Chancellor's regulations, cell phones [cell phones may be allowed now under the De Blasio mayoral administration], MP3 players, and other electronic devices are currently banned in New York City public schools.
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