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Singing Their New School's Praises

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The nation's only church-choir boarding school has a unique new home at 202 West 58th Steet in New York City.

Officials of the 68-year-old St. Thomas Choir School, attempting to fight Manhattan's soaring real-estate costs, commissioned the New York City firm of Buttrick, White & Burtis to construct suitable living, study and recreation quarters on a tiny 7,500- square-foot site.

The $18-million result, strategically situated between Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, is a 15-story "campus in a skyscraper." Besides study and living areas, the high-rise, which houses 50 8-to-12 year-old boys plus school staff, features an oak-paneled dining room, a "sky chapel," and an underground rehearsal hall that doubles as a gymnasium.

A staircase from the gymnasium, dining hall, and classrooms to the dormitory serves as the "campus quadrangle," and the practice field for outdoor sports is Central Park. Faculty and staff apartments are on the upper floors.

The designers used elements of traditional church architecture to reflect the Anglican origins of the school, which offers intensive choral study in addition to academics and athletics. A voice audition is required of aspirants for admission to the exclusive student body, whose singers have performed internationally as well across the United States.

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