FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 13, 2007
GOVERNOR SPITZER, MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND SPEAKER SILVER ANNOUNCE PLANS TO BUILD CITY’S FIRST-EVER GREEN SCHOOL IN BATTERY PARK CITY
State Donates Land for New Public Elementary and Middle School
New Elementary and Middle Public School Will Add 950 Seats, Including 100 Seats for Special Education Students
Governor Eliot Spitzer, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced plans to build a new elementary/middle school in the Battery Park City area of Lower Manhattan that will add 950 seats to serve pre-kindergarten through the eighth grades, and will also include 100 seats for special education students.
In recent years, the residential population in Lower Manhattan has increased dramatically, which has also contributed to sizable growth in student enrollment in the area’s schools. In response, the state is providing the last vacant building site in Battery Park City at no cost to the City to begin building the new school. The land will be made available through the Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), which owns the site.
“To keep pace with the growing population, we must meet the need for schools as more families move into the city,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This new facility, part of our $13.1 billion capital plan to reduce classroom overcrowding and to modernize our schools, will also be the first green school building in keeping with our commitment to incorporate energy-saving measures such as increased insulation and the use of natural light. Not only will the students have a state-of-the-art learning facility, but they will also be learning in environmentally-friendly surroundings.”
“Lower Manhattan has become a premier residential destination, and that trend has also placed a toll on its public schools,” said Governor Spitzer. “The donation of this land for a new elementary/middle school will ease overcrowding in Lower Manhattan classrooms and improve overall education conditions by providing students with a healthy sustainable environment where they learn and thrive. The project will also complement the unprecedented $1.76 billion increase in education funding we provided in this year’s state budget.”
“I pushed hard for this school at site 2B, because it is a vital part of my vision to rebuild downtown better than ever as a diverse 24-hour community where more and more families continue to choose to live and work. Along with the Beekman School and the PS 234 Annex, this new school supports our efforts to reduce class size and ease overcrowding in our schools,” said Assembly Speaker Silver. “I would like to commend Julie Menin and Community Board 1, the Governor, the Mayor, the Schools Construction Authority and Battery Park City Authority for their continued strong commitment to improving education in Lower Manhattan.”
“This project is the latest example of the State and City delivering on their pledge to place the interests of our children first. As part of our overall reform effort, we are creating more seats, more schools, and more opportunities for our students to succeed,” said SCA President and CEO Sharon Greenberger. “Building this school represents a big step toward reducing the need for new seats in the District and reducing school overcrowding.”
Construction of the school will adhere to environmental guidelines that will make the school the first entirely “green” public school in New York City. The approximately 125,000 square feet school and will serve a neighborhood that the New York City Department of Education (DOE ) has identified as having a high need for additional school space. The BPCA is also contributing $3 million to the School Construction Authority for additional green features, such as photovoltaics.
Green school improvements reduce operating costs, improve indoor air quality, conserve natural resources, and enhance the learning environment by making schools healthier and more comfortable places to work and learn. The Battery Park School will be built according to Local Law 86 and the New York City Green Schools Rating System. Specifically, the new school will:
“This is a great day for Lower Manhattan. I want to thank Governor Spitzer for his commitment to the people of Lower Manhattan to build a new school on this long dormant piece of land. For too many years the city and the state have ignored the fact that people actually live in this community,” said Senator Martin Connor. “These residents need new schools, parks, libraries, and other neighborhood facilities. The teachers and principals in our local schools do a great job but their classrooms are overcrowded and their resources are stretched to the limits. In the past our demands for new schools have been ignored. That changed when Eliot Spitzer became our governor. He and the members of his administration began to listen to the needs and concerns of the elected officials, community leaders, and the people who live here. Not only will this new school help to reduce overcrowded classrooms but it will also enhance the quality of life for all the people who live in Tribeca and the Community Board 1 area. Thank you, Governor Spitzer, for your visionary leadership.”
“It is inspiring that so many parents are choosing to raise their kids in a neighborhood many thought might be abandoned after the 2001 terrorist attacks,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “I’m thrilled that we are building a new school to meet the needs of the many families who want to make this part of Manhattan their home.”
“The Downtown community has fought for this badly needed new school for a long time. We are thrilled that the new state administration understands the importance of providing new school space to our expanding residential community,” said Councilmember Alan J. Gerson.
“I want to thank Governor Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg for their continued support of the Battery Park City community and all of Lower Manhattan. Today’s announcement that the Governor and Mayor Bloomberg have come together to build a new, green public school on this site is wonderful news for Lower Manhattan,” said BPCA Chairman James Gill. “Not only will our local children have a great new school to attend, but it will be the first green school in New York City. The Battery Park City Authority looks forward to working with the Schools Construction Authority and the local community to make this school a reality.”
“This is a day of extraordinary importance for the children and families of Lower Manhattan. We are the fastest growing residential neighborhood in the City of New York and our schools are literally bursting at the seams. This new school will forever shape the landscape of education in Lower Manhattan and I could not be more pleased,” said Community Board 1 Chair Julie Menin.
Lower Manhattan Development Corporation President Avi Schick, Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis Walcott, Schools Construction Authority (SCA) President and CEO Sharon Greenberger and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein were also present for the announcement.
The school, which will be located at 55 Battery Place, will be fully air-conditioned and have 40 classrooms, including 10 for special education students; a kitchen and cafeteria; medical suite; auditorium; library; wireless Internet access; art, science, and music rooms; a 5,400-square-foot gymnasium, and a 1,500-square-foot exercise room with rooftop educational and recreational spaces. Construction is expected to begin in June 2008, and expected to be completed by September 2010. The new school is being designed by Dattner Architects.
Student enrollment in Lower Manhattan is projected to grow over the next ten years in large part due to the expansion of housing units in the area. Now in its fourth year of implementation, the 2005-09 $13.1 billion DOE Capital Plan has built or is about to build more than 63,000 new seats for New York City public school students. The DOE is on target to meet the commitment of the Children’s First Reform to reduce overcrowding and improve the quality of existing facilities.
Stu Loeser / Dawn Walker (212) 788-2958
David Cantor (Department of Education)
Errol Cockfield (Governor Spitzer) (212) 681-4640
Leticia Remauro (BPCA) (212) 417-2276
Dan Weiller (Speaker Silver) (518) 455-3791
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