SCA presents new primary school in District 20 during CB 10 meeting

April 16, 2021 Jaime DeJesus
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A new school site for Bay Ridge, within School District 20, has been proposed by the School Construction Authority (SCA).

Representatives from the SCA attended a Brooklyn Community Board 10 meeting on April 8 to discuss plans to bring an approximately 31,650-square-foot primary school on Fifth Avenue between 88th and 89th streets. It would include 572 seats for pre-kindergarten up to fifth grade.

The site is privately owned and contains a vacant former Santander Bank building with a paved parking lot as well as a vacant automotive establishment.

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“I know we have several thousands of seats we have to fill, so we are looking at every single possible location that is feasible for us to build a school site in District 20,” said Steve Gonzalez, SCA’s project support Manager for South Brooklyn and Staten Island.

All of Community Board 10 is located within School District 20.

Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann said there was a great need for more schools in the area.

“Looking at all the primary needs schools, we are over 100 percent capacity,” she said. “Our schools are very overcrowded, and projections are that we are soon going to be looking at census data, but our district population continues to grow. Our overcrowding is significant.”

The SCA submitted a notice of filing to the City Record on April 1. 

“We are pretty well along the path right now of satisfying this subdistrict’s needs in this current five year capital plan,” said Gale Mandaro, senior director at SCA. “District 20 has a pretty well-developed community. There’s not a lot of brand new construction going on and not a lot of housing development like we see in the Bronx communities.”

She also said it was too early in the process to present a design of the school, but there will be community engagement in the future.

“We do come back when we have something to share,” Mandaro said. “First, we have to know that we have the support to proceed with the acquisition, and then we can move forward. I can’t imagine a bigger waste of taxpayer dollars if we design a school before we can buy this and build the school.”

At the end of the meeting, a vote within the board was held for approval of the site. Out of 13 members present, eight were in favor, four opposed and one abstained. The motion carried.

Those that want to submit comments on the proposed actions can email [email protected] until May 16.

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