FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 02, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR JOEL I. KLEIN ANNOUNCE NEW SECONDARY SCHOOL CAMPUS IN BRONX
$129 Million DOE High School Project includes Construction of Four Schools at Mott Haven Railroad Site to Serve 2,000 Students
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein today announced a plan to construct a campus of four new small secondary schools on a six-acre portion of the rail yards in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. This is the latest initiative by the Department of Education (DOE) to strengthen the City's high schools and relieve crowding, particularly in Bronx high schools. The new $129 million complex will serve approximately 2,000 students in the four new schools. The campus will include a mix of schools which the DOE has been creating under its Children First reforms, including small schools serving grades 6-12 and 9-12, as well as a charter school. The project will also include playground and athletic field space, as well as other facilities, to be shared among the schools. The four schools will be constructed on the six-acres of Mott Heaven rail yards with boundaries of 153rd Street on the south, Concord Village on the east, and the New York and Harlem railroad driveway on the west. Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Klein, joined by South Bronx Churches' (SBC) Sharon Josoin and Virginia Gonzalez, made the announcement at South Bronx Educational Campus, formerly South Bronx High School, located at 701 St. Ann's Avenue, near where the four new small secondary schools will be constructed. Today's announcement was convened in a building that is the site of three small schools-Mott Haven Village Prep, New Explorers and the Academy for Careers in Sports.
"High school overcrowding is a problem throughout the five boroughs, but in the Bronx, the rate of overcrowding is sharply higher than it is in the City as a whole," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Today, Chancellor Klein and I are unveiling plans that will produce a second new campus of new secondary schools in Mott Haven. These schools will give thousands of students and parents in this community the chance to have the kind of rigorous and satisfying education that every neighborhood deserves. As part of our efforts to reform City schools, we have purchased, leased, and renovated facilities. And now we're going to build new schools where they are needed most."
"We face our greatest school reform challenge at the high school level," said Schools Chancellor Klein. "In the Bronx, where this challenge is acute, we have begun a major turn-around, and in the small schools that we have already created, once failing students are no longer. In addition, attendance and promotion rates in these schools are showing encouraging results that indicate that we indeed can succeed."
The site for the new campus is a six-acre portion of a larger parcel bordered on the north by two middle schools at 156th Street, the south by a new bridge at 153rd Street, and on the east by Concord Village East. The project is part of a wider plan designed to provide high school seats to alleviate the shortage of space in Bronx high schools, the result of longstanding conditions of overcrowding and a recent demographic increase in the borough's high school-aged population.
In addition, the project will add to the thousands of seats already created in small high schools in the Bronx and across the City, an important element of the Department of Education's strategy to improve the educational quality of under-performing high schools.
The Mott Haven project is one component of the DOE's strategy to expand and improve high schools in the Bronx. The DOE has cited the need for more high school seats across the City, and called for the creation of over 26,700 middle and high school seats Citywide, of which over one third, or 9,900, are planned for the Bronx. Much of this construction will come in the form of small secondary schools, including those in this project. In the past two years, utilizing both new and existing space, the DOE has created 47 new small secondary schools in the Bronx, which currently serve approximately 8,600 students, and 99 new secondary schools Citywide, which serve approximately 16,400 students.
During the last several months, the DOE has been working with South Bronx Churches (SBC), an affiliate of Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (Metro IAF), focusing on strategies to create new high school seats in the Bronx. Metro IAF and SBC will partner with the DOE to design and complete the project, as well as develop one new high school on the campus. Metro IAF and its affiliates, SBC and East Brooklyn Congregations, have launched five high schools since 1992.
SBC and Metro IAF first proposed the Bronx campus project. SBC is a consortium of faith-based congregations, homeowners associations, and schools in the South Bronx that has built 1,000 Nehemiah homes and has supported small schools in New York City for over a decade, opening the Bronx Leadership Academy in 1992 and the Bronx Leadership Academy II in 2002.
Design for the Mott Haven project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2006, as decisions are made on school configurations and programs. The plan anticipates that at least one of the new schools will open in September of 2008, with the others opening in time for the 2009 academic year.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958
Jerry Russo (Department of Education)
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