GEG’s Repurposes Former 75,000 sq ft GE Campus in Stamford – A Game Changer for Burgeoning Private School Group

Greenwich Education Group has a new home at 201 High Ridge
Road in Stamford.

Two of the group’s three schools – The Spire School and The Pinnacle School – have already moved in to the vast 75,000 square foot space, formerly the General Electric Treasury building, with full in person learning having started on September 8.

Victoria Newman outside Greenwich Education Group’s new campus for The Pinnacle School and Spire School. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Next June, GEG’s third NEASC accredited school, Links Academy, where students learn one-on-one and in small groups, will arrive and complete the campus trio.

Founder and President of GEG, Victoria Newman said the move to a larger location was in the works for a couple of years, and all of the properties that could accommodate the schools’ growth in Greenwich, Stamford, and Darien were considered.

The conclusion was that the space at 201 High Ridge Road worked the best and had been vacant for a number of years. That said, once the lease was signed in March, the zoning work and permits began and six months’ worth of construction were completed in just three.

Spire School staff Michael Topazio and Jean-Paul Brown. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager
The Pinnacle School lounge. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Newman, who participates in weekly Tuesday calls with superintendents across the state and the Connecticut Dept of Health, including epidemiologists, and said she was confident in the campus Covid protocols.

“We are on the weekly calls with Yale epidemiologists,” she said of the weekly calls that began in April. “One thing we learned this week was that any of the Covid cases that have impacted school populations were contracted outside of schools – from sports teams and sports games, a few high school parties and get-togethers at the elementary level, where someone had it and didn’t realize it. There has not been a single transmission from kid-to-kid or teacher-to-teacher.”

Bright, spacious Makerspace lab at Greenwich Education Group’s new campus at 201 High Ridge Road. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Newman said she understands the need for sports and competition
and felt that with the proper procedures and protocols they can happen safely.

“We need to follow the rules on social distancing and large gatherings – mask wearing, good hand hygiene, use Purell, wipe down surfaces. I do believe this is a virus we can prevent if we follow the precautions from the State Dept of Health, the CDC and the World Health Organization,” she said.

“To keep our students and staff safe, we’re not letting any families
into the building during school hours while students are in the
building. We are allowing limited visitors in after school hours,
with a very strict protocol,” Newman added.

Socially distanced, teachers headed to a meeting after students had left campus for the afternoon. Sept 25, 2020
Entrance to Greenwich Education Group’s new campus for The Pinnacle Group and The Spire School at 201 High Ridge Road in Stamford. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

GEG’s tutoring and test prep are still in their previous locations because parents are not allowed in the building at 201 High Ridge Rd.

“We all know that you can’t be too careful with Covid,” she said,
adding that the campus uses a Bio Spray for safe sanitizing of high
touch surfaces including door knobs, desktop surfaces, tables, and
bathrooms., which are first disinfected and then cleaned every
afternoon and on weekends.

Fitness Center at Greenwich Education Group’s campus at 201 High Ridge Road. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

GEG employs three full time custodians, and all three were trained
in the use of Bio Spray which is on Connecticut’s Green and Clean
list and has a 60 second virus kill rate. Pinnacle and Spire each have their own PE teacher. Spire’s PE teacher Marc Lindstrom said he planned to hold PE outside as long as possible.

There are wide grassy lawns where he said the children enjoy a 15- minute walk before playing bocce, badminton or corn hole toss.

“We spray down the bean bags for corn hole toss and spray the badminton handles,” Lindstrom said.

“If it rains they come in the fitness center,” he continued, going on to
explain the children use every other fitness machine to ensure
social distancing.

“We’re very strict about wiping off the equipment after use,” he

Spacious cafeteria at Greenwich Education Group’s High Ridge Road campus. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

Another advantage of taking over the former GE Treasury building was the vast cafeteria that currently serves 252 students, teachers and staff.

There is also a huge nurse’s office, multiple lounge areas, music room, science labs and a Maker Space area. There is also storage space and room for a huge teacher’s lounge in the future when allowed post Covid.

There is a spacious suite that includes a conference room and offices for Newman, the Director of Strategic Marketing, Head of facilities and operations, the educational consulting and college counseling teams.

“We’re so lucky,” Newman said of the timing of the move into
such a vast building and campus. “This is the culmination of a
lifelong dream for me.”

Tammy Moscrip, PhD, LCSW Executive Director and Chief Administrator, The Spire School; Director of Clinical Services, Greenwich Education Group. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager
Spire School lounge. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

On Friday Greenwich Education Group held a ribbon for their new campus with Mayor David R. Martin, the 31st Mayor of Stamford. Joining Newman were Dr. Tammy Moscrip, Executive Director, Chief Administrator of The Spire School and Dr. Alisa Dror, Head of the Pinnacle School along with the leadership team, colleagues, Newman’s family and close friends.

Newman also dedicated the Gallery Wall in the lobby to her late
father, Paul E. Conway who she described “as an avid art collector, sketch artist, voracious reader, lover of history and politics and a member of the British Intelligence during World War II.”

She went onto say that while he never got to see GEG’s growth he believed deeply in education and family and would be proud.

Next door to Greenwich Education Group, in what was also part of the former GE property, Boston-based Waterstone Group is constructing a high-end senior living facility for people 55+.

“It’s going to beautiful, and we’ll be able to use the courtyard,” Newman added. “This entire property is being repurposed in an amazing way and every day I realize how lucky and grateful I am.”

Spire School is a private day school for college-bound students in grades 6 through 12. The school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and is a Connecticut State-Approved Special Education School. More information about The Spire School is available online.

Dr. Keara Conway, Licensed Clinical Psychologist at the entrance to The Pinnacle School. Sept 25, 2020 Photo: Leslie Yager

The Pinnacle School enables students in grades 2-12 with language-based learning differences to thrive through small class sizes, individualized academic programming, active problem-solving, and relationship building.
More information about The Pinnacle School is available online.

Links Academy is an adaptable, interactive, and supportive school community where students in Grades 6–12 rediscover their love of learning in an environment that fosters empowerment and self-advocacy. Links cultivates rewarding educational experiences through extremely individualized instruction delivered in one-to-one and small-
group settings.

Greenwich Education Group’s campus at 201 High Ridge Road. Contributed photo