The Somers Town Board heard an informal proposal last week by the newly formed Evergreen Ridge, LLC. development company to convert the former IBM campus along Route 100 into a private, STEM-focused high school.
Somers Academy, as it would be called, would take the 723-acre office park predominantly as-is, repurposing the existing office buildings into academic centers and residential space. The bulk of the existing parking lots would then be transformed into play fields, gardens, basketball and tennis courts, and additional dormitories. New art and athletic centers, as well as a residence for the head of school would also be constructed. (It would keep the helipad.)
Evergreen Ridge expects to eventually serve up to 1,800 students by 2022, beginning with the first 750 students from grades 9 and 10 as early as early as 2020. 85% of these students would reside on campus as boarders, while the remaining 15% would attend as day school students. The company expects to hire 102 teachers (with an 18:1 student-teacher ratio), 23 administrators, and an additional 110 support staff.
The school will stress STEM and STEAM curricula, including hands-on prototyping, creative problem solving, and collaborative entrepreneurship, particularly in “industry-emerging career fields” such as bio-tech, digital design, data analysis, alternative energies, AI, robotics, aerospace, and a host more. Evergreen Ridge also anticipates partnering with leading universities as well as local and global companies, labs, and a rotating cadre of guest experts.
“We think this campus — aesthetically — and the academic program and the modern housing, classroom and eco-system we have put together will make this one of the most important and relevant schools in the world,” says Evergreen Ridge principal Tim DiScipio.
The for-profit (and tax-paying) school would be a major boom to Westchester’s education sector, while simultaneously lowering Somers’ local and the county’s overall commercial real estate vacancy rates.
Tuition and fees for the academy are expected to set parents back a cool $37,000 annually, and that’s for locals attending day school. Boarders can expect to add another $12,000 to that figure, totally a hefty $49,000, setting Somers Academy up as a potential premier learning institution in the Northeast.