More elementary school seats coming in Dyker

February 6, 2015 Meaghan McGoldrick
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As the Department of Education’s 2009-2014 Five Year Capital Plan winds down, the Bensonhurst-Dyker Heights area – an infamously overcrowded slice of Southwest Brooklyn’s District 20 – is getting a little reprieve in the form of a new school.

DOE is putting the finishing touches on one of the two former sites of Our Lady of Guadalupe School (7301 15th Avenue), a two-story building that will serve as an annex to P.S. 112 (7115 15th Avenue), according to officials.

“It’s a small site,” explained Laurie Windsor, president of the Community Education Council (CEC) for District 20. “That was one of the reasons that it became an annex, or a split site as it’s called.”

The DOE is currently renovating the site, rented out by the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, to seat 256 students though it will still share parts of the pre-existing P.S. 112 building.

The new site – to be called P.S. 768 – is slated to open in September of 2015 while Guadalupe – which formerly occupied two buildings at the site – will continue to operate out of its main building, also at 73rd Street.

“The reason for this site is to relieve overcrowding at P.S. 176,” said Windsor, who met with the CEC in September to discuss overcrowding and the subsequent need for rezoning within the district. “It is extremely, extremely overcrowded.”

P.S. 176 – a kindergarten through fifth grade school at 12th and Bay Ridge Avenues – is at 175 percent capacity, according to Windsor, with more than 1,400 students enrolled last semester at a school built for just 800.

While it is nowhere near what the district needs, the opening of 768, Windsor said, will pave the way for more seats at both 112 and 176, with at least 200 students attending the new annex instead.

“While it’s not perfect and it’s not nearly as much as we would want [for 112 and 176], it will help somewhat,” she went on. “It is not the be-all-end-all answer and we know that, but we’re going to take what we can get.”

More should be coming down the pike in the next few years. According to the DOE’s 2015-2019 Capital Plan, District 20 – the most overcrowded district in the borough, and the second-most overcrowded district citywide – is set to see seven new schools with a total of 4,045 new seats. Neighboring District 21, on the other hand, will receive two new schools and roughly 912 new seats.

From 2010 to 2014, the agency funded 2,372 new seats and completed construction on 2,211 seats, leaving another 161 already-funded seats to be built in the coming years.

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