A sidewalk view of the 3K Center at Flatbush Avenue preschool exterior.

Brooklyn 3K Center at Flatbush Avenue School Renovation


Our Client’s Challenge

Preschool plays a crucial role in children’s early cognitive development, providing a structured and supportive environment to grow socially, emotionally, and intellectually. This experience establishes a strong educational foundation as students prepare to enter elementary school.

For the New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA), creating an equitable education helps ensure every inner-city child has the same opportunities as their peers to succeed, regardless of background. NYCSCA and the New York City Department of Education are expanding and enhancing existing school facilities through a five-year capital plan.

The 3K Center at Flatbush Avenue is an NYCSCA program infrastructure project renovation that transformed five existing city buildings into a preschool facility for three-year-old children. The center, located at the corner of Flatbush Avenue and Cortelyou Road in Brooklyn, formerly housed vacant, blighted retail stores, including a pharmacy, liquor store, shoemaker, hair salon, and pizzeria. While the local economy declined over the past decade, this area incurred a devastating blow during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of preschool-age children increased.

Our Solution

With a goal to create sustainable and quick solutions, the team transformed five separate retail spaces into one 27,330-square-foot educational 3K Center in time for the start of the school year. The renovated building breathes new life into the neighborhood, creating a safe and welcoming educational environment for Brooklyn’s youth.

Gannett Fleming provided construction management at-risk for the $15 million project, collaborating with NYCSCA, utility companies, the design team, and community stakeholders to fast-track the project in 140 days. Construction management at-risk is a term used when the construction manager holds the contract for the general contractor and, thereby, has a contractual relationship with all subcontractors. It is a construction project delivery method including a commitment to deliver the project within a guaranteed maximum price, plus any reasonably inferred items.

The renovation maximized the existing infrastructure and eliminated the need for a new build, thereby lessening its environmental footprint and ultimately contributing to a more sustainable future. The 3K Center features many new interior and exterior energy-saving solutions that enhance safety for students and school personnel.

The exterior of the 3K Center at Flatbush Avenue preschool before and after construction.

Complex Construction Management Challenges

Prior to the renovation, the existing retail building lacked a structurally sound or level floor. Demolition in the basement revealed a complex issue — the floor above was supported by beams at varying heights and at varying levels of structural integrity. This was undetected during initial surveys.

During demolition, it was revealed that the five retail spaces had a large grading difference, making it very difficult to get an accurate slope reading during the project’s pre-design survey phase. In addition, the existing drop ceiling concealed multiple levels of joists, hidden skylights, and extensive fire damage, and the exterior wall on Cortelyou Road did not sit on the foundation wall.

Unforeseen issues with the existing floor, ceiling, and foundation posed many challenges throughout the renovation, resulting in 124 fast-tracked requests for information. Lingering supply chain issues from the pandemic added to project complexity. Together, the team developed a viable solution that reinforced the building’s integrity, utilized available building materials, and established code compliance on a tight 140-day timeline.

Key Features

  • Seven preschool classrooms.
  • Exercise room.
  • Warming pantry/kitchen.
  • Parent/teacher room.
  • Principal’s office and main office.
  • Staff room.
  • Medical suite.
  • Telecommunication room.
  • Utility and storage rooms.


  • Provides a brand-new 27,330-square-foot preschool for Brooklyn’s youth.
  • Enhances safety with custom window guards, fire safety systems, and building video cameras.
  • Improves energy efficiency with sustainable building materials and utilities.

Awards & Recognition

  • ACEC, 2024, Engineering Excellence Awards, National Recognition Award.
  • ACEC New York, 2024, Engineering Excellence Awards, Diamond Award.


New York City School Construction Authority (NYCSCA)


Brooklyn, N.Y.


Construction Management At-Risk

More Project Details

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