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Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg And Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein Announce Construction Of New K-8 School In Washington Heights

December 9, 2003

Project is One of Six on City-Owned Properties to be Fast-Tracked

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced plans for the construction of a new K-8 school that will create 440 new classroom seats in District 6 in Washington Heights.  The project is part of a strategy by the School Construction Authority (SCA) that will expedite school construction by focusing on projects that are already on City-owned property, rather than projects that will require time-consuming and expensive site acquisition. Five other school construction projects have been identified on City property to be fast-tracked.  The site of the new school at 152nd Street and Amsterdam Avenue formerly housed the Bishop Dubois High School, which closed in 1976, and the Holcombe Rucker Community League before falling into disuse in the late 1990s.

"Creating more classroom seats to alleviate overcrowding is a key component of our education reforms," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Overcrowding has been a persistent problem in Washington Heights, and fast-tracking this project will create 440 additional seats in this community.  This particular school construction project represents an important part of our five-year, $13.1 billion capital plan, which includes $4 billion specifically earmarked to the creation of 63,000 seats throughout the five boroughs."

"With the creation of this new school, children in this community will finally have the opportunity to learn in a quality classroom setting," Chancellor Klein said. "It is crucial that we move quickly to create the capacity needed to provide all of New York City's children with the education they need and deserve.  I applaud the SCA for working so hard to fast-track school construction projects and I am confident that we will continue to build upon the progress we have achieved in our capital program over the last year."

SCA acquired the site in January 2002 and the reconstruction of the school was included as part of the 2000-2004 capital plan, but was deferred as a result of the $2 billion gap. The project, estimated to cost $20 million, includes the renovation of the original building and the demolition of an adjacent smaller structure, increasing the overall capacity of the school. The construction of the new school is projected to be completed by school opening in September 2006.

Other projects that the SCA intends to expedite include the $41 million construction of P.S. 260 in Corona, Queens (630 seats); the $60 million construction of P.S./I.S. 189 in the Bronx (900 seats); the $65 million construction of I.S. 43 in Staten Island (900 seats), the $153 million construction of a new Metropolitan Avenue Campus in Forest Hills that will house three schools covering K through 12 (2300 seats), and the $70 million construction of a permanent home for the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts in Astoria (1000 seats).

Today's announcement follows the Mayor's release of a new instruction-based, $13.1 billion capital plan that will drastically increase the number of classroom seats throughout the five boroughs over the next five years.  The proposed plan addresses overcrowding with a $4 billion investment in 76 new buildings citywide, adding a total of 63,000 classroom seats - including 11 small primary schools (grades K-3), 49 regular primary/intermediate schools (many of which will be grades K-8) and 16 Intermediate/High Schools (many of which will be grades 6-12). The plan will enable the Department of Education to reduce and ultimately remove all Transportable Classroom Units, expand the class-size reduction initiative to all Kindergarten through third grade classes, and alleviate high school overcrowding and split sessions.  In addition, the Department of Education has also created 5,880 new classroom seats from converted administrative offices, bringing it closer to its goal of 8,000 seats in converted offices by next September.

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