Built in 1897-98 in Collegiate Gothic style with columns, cathedral windows and old-world plaster detail, P.S. 166 is one of the most impressive public school buildings in the city. Designed by the award-winning architect C.B. Snyder, the charm of a by-gone era is still evident in the sculptured facade, the sweeping entrance staircase, and the sunny, high-ceilinged classrooms.
In 1995 a complete renovation was undertaken and the entire building was modernized, becoming a barrier-free institution. It received Landmark status at the end of the millennium and a new million dollar playground at the beginning of the new millennium. The playground was designed by the innovative architect M. Paul Freidberg and is open to the public after school hours and on weekends. There is a separate playground for the kindergarten children.
In 2003, the school was renamed The Richard Rodgers School, after its illustrious alumnus, the great musical composer Richard Rodgers. Other well known graduates include Jonas Salk, J.D. Salinger, Charles Benenson, Lewis and Jack Rudin, and Ronnie Eldridge, who served for many years on the New York City Council.
In 2009, a three-year exterior renovation project by the NYC Schools Construction Authority to replace all windows, re-point the brickwork and repair the roof was completed.
And in 2016, the school playground renovation was completed to make the playground safer and more enjoyable for all students.