The Buffalo Public School District officially marked the start of construction of the new Emerson II culinary and hospitality school. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says the second site is part of the district’s new high school programs.
“One, two, three – Emerson!” declared Buffalo Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash.
A ceremonial ground breaking was held outside the building that was once a livery stable building on West Huron Street, between Franklin and Delaware. It will be home to the new Buffalo School of Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management.
“Just like the city of Buffalo, undergoing an enormous renaissance and revitalization – so too are the Buffalo Public Schools,” stated Cash.
It took the District and school board more than two years go to settle on the site for Emerson II.
“This is an important day because it is a beginning. It’s a precursor to the day that we anticipate celebrating the ribbon cutting at the opening of the new Emerson II – the state-of-the-art building that will complete our vision of an Emerson Hospitality campus,” remarked Barbara Seals-Nevergold, Buffalo School Board president.
The current school on Chippewa has been a big success in training students for future jobs.
“Definitely take advantage of the opportunities that are here. Get to know your teachers and just have fun,” said Micaela Apellaniz, 11th grader enrolled in the current Emerson program, boasting a 99-average.
“When we graduate here, we graduate with our certificate in culinary and it gives me opportunities right from the jump of getting a job right in the kitchen,” Apellaniz explained.
The new school will address the growing demand for training students in the culinary field. McGuire Development is partnering with Buffalo developer Mark Croce to recreate the building for the district. Paul McDonald is director of Facilities for city schools.
“The exterior will be restored. This is going to be a historic tax credit project and then there will be an addition to the side of the building, actually towards Delaware Avenue with a gymnasium. The gymnasium will have a space where you can actually drive underneath to get to the parking. Basically the building will be restored. Inside it’s all vacant. It’s very open space with a unique structure. The sixth floor is all truss,” McDonald remarked.
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2019 and ready for students in 2020.
“And the students, who will walk in these doors and their lives will forever be changed – our greatest capital – are our young people,” Ellicott District Common Council Member Darius Pridgen remarked.