Rendering of the Shirley Chisholm Recreational Center in East Flatbush. Credit: New York City Department of Design and Construction
New Center Will Feature Gymnasium; Walking Track; Indoor Swimming Pool; Fitness, Strength, and Cardio Rooms; Media Lab; and Teaching Kitchen
Project Will Be Completed Two Years Faster Than Through Competitive Bidding Thanks to DDC’s Design-Build Program
New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue were today joined by New York City Councilmember Farah N. Louis, New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, and community members to break ground on the new, $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center at the Nostrand Playground in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. DDC is managing the construction on behalf of NYC Parks.
The new center is named for Brooklyn-born politician, and the first African American woman to serve in Congress, Shirley Chisholm. The daughter of immigrant parents from Guyana, Chisholm also made history as the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. Her contributions to her community and country are reflective of her desire to affect change.
“Shirley Chisholm inspired millions of young girls to pursue dreams they never thought possible. And when the Shirley Chisholm Recreational Center opens, her name will once again inspire another generation, while providing the residents of East Flatbush with a state-of-the-art recreational center that honors the rich history and heritage of this vibrant community,” said Mayor Adams. “I am especially pleased to see that the media lab will bear the name of a personal friend and mentor, Dr. Roy Hastick, who was a true champion of the Caribbean community in East Flatbush. With this project, our administration is using all the tools at our disposal to deliver amenities for New Yorkers more quickly and efficiently than ever before.”
Upon its completion at the end of 2025, the state-of the art recreation center will offer a host of programming offerings and amenities to encourage learning, recreation, and community and civic engagement. The center’s features will include multipurpose rooms; a gymnasium; a walking track; an indoor swimming pool; fitness, strength, and cardio rooms; and a teaching kitchen. The center will also include a media lab named in honor of Dr. Roy A. Hastick, Sr. A Grenadian emigrant and community stalwart, Dr. Hastick founded the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry and served on a number of economic development and community boards to advocate on behalf of the East Flatbush community.
The project is part of DDC’s design-build pilot program and will be completed by the end of 2025, a full two years faster than would be expected under the preexisting lowest-bidder contracting system. Under design-build, design and construction firms cooperate under one overall contract for all design and construction services. This approach increases cooperation between the teams and can cut nine to 12 months off a project’s timeline. The use of design-build also means that construction can begin while the building’s final design is still being developed, something that would not be possible under lowest-bidder contracting.
Earlier this year, Mayor Adams’ Capital Process Reform Task Force – comprised of a group of leaders representing the construction industry, labor, and minority- and women-owned business enterprises – released a slate of 39 recommendations to improve the city’s capital process, from project initiation to closeout. One recommendation advocated for New York state to authorize progressive design-build, a one-step procurement process that would allow the city to quickly select a project team based on qualifications and collaborate throughout the essential early phases of design. This step would build on the city’s successful use of design-build, which was authorized by the state in 2019 and implemented in 2022.