Park Slope

NYC to build new 180-student pre-K center on border of Park Slope and Gowanus

November 4, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Councilmember Brad Lander announced Tuesday that the New York City School Construction Authority has proposed constructing a new pre-K center near the border of Park Slope and Gowanus. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) has proposed constructing a new pre-K center near the border of Park Slope and Gowanus, Councilmember Brad Lander announced Tuesday. The proposed school, which would seat approximately 180 4-year-olds, is planned for the vacant lot next to an American Legion post on Ninth Street between Third and Fourth avenues. The SCA is beginning the public review process, and will accept public comments on the site until Dec. 13.

The new building is part of an ongoing effort by the NYC Department of Education, the SCA and local elected officials to insure that convenient, high-quality pre-K seats are available for all 4-year-olds, and to address school overcrowding throughout District 15 — caused by the popularity of local public schools and by new residential development 

The new pre-K center will bolster the presence of Mayor de Blasio’s already popular Pre-K for All program in the area. Pre-K seats are currently offered in many public elementary schools and by local community-based organizations, but crowded schools and expensive real estate have continued to present a challenge 

The vacant lot on Ninth Street has long been suggested by parents, advocates and school officials looking to decrease large class sizes and over utilization rates in nearby schools. While previous assessments have found the site to be too small for a full elementary school, recent evaluations by the SCA found the site to be fitting for pre-K specific use.

“This new, 180-seat pre-K center on Ninth Street will be a real win-win for families in Park Slope, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and throughout District 15. It will both offer a convenient, high-quality option for 5-year-olds, and help to reduce overcrowding in our neighborhood schools,” said Lander. “Thanks to the SCA for their creative approach, turning a vacant lot that wasn’t large enough for a full elementary school into a pre-K center. Along with the recently announced 436-seat addition to PS 32, this new school helps to advance the goals of our ‘Bridging Gowanus’ neighborhood planning framework by building the infrastructure we need to sustain our growing communities.”

“Through Mayor de Blasio’s [Universal pre-K] initiative, the SCA has been able to reimagine what it means to develop and build schools for our children,” said Lorraine Grillo, president and CEO of the SCA. “Because of this bold and innovative project, we were able to reevaluate previous sites that now can be a beacon for bringing pre-K education throughout the city.”

The proposed school builds on the model of a stand-alone pre-K center, like the one at K280, the former Bishop Ford High School in Windsor Terrace (operated as an annex to nearby PS 10).  In District 15, such stand-alone pre-K centers have been proposed as a novel solution to free up space in already overcrowded elementary schools.

The new strategy of creating pre-K specific sites builds on other city efforts to create new school seats and address overcrowding in the area, including:

         the recently announced addition to be built at PS 32 in Gowanus/Carroll Gardens (436 seats)

         the 2013 opening of PS 118 (350 seats)

         the 2013 enlargement of PS 133 from 300 to 900 seats (600 seats)


The SCA and DOE are also working aggressively to address overcrowding in the Sunset Park and Kensington sections of District 15. 

According to SCA documents, the approximately 180-seat facility is sited for Block 1003, Lot 11. The space contains approximately 13,500 square feet of space (.30 acres). Currently, the site is privately owned and is unimproved. 

Comments should be submitted to: New York City School Construction Authority,

30-30 Thomson Ave., Long Island City, New York, 11101, Attention: Ross J. Holden.

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