Plan floated to expand P.S. 234

By Elizabeth O’Brien

George Olsen, outgoing president of the P.T.A. at P.S. 234 and a member of Community Board 1, is pushing plans for an addition to P.S. 234 to accommodate the expected influx of new students.

The population of Lower Manhattan will likely mushroom over the next several years, with at least 8,173 new residential units currently in development south of Canal St. Even this fall, P.S. 234 could have an enrollment of more than 100 students over capacity, according to Anna Switzer, the school’s outgoing principal.
The expansion project would involve building an extension of three stories with two new classrooms on each floor, one facing Chambers St. and the other facing south towards Warren St., Olsen said.

To make room for the addition, the playground behind the school would have to be shifted towards Warren St., while the dog run bordering Warren St. would move to Site 5C, immediately west of the school (see related article, page 6). Both steps would require city approval.

Olsen said he is currently gathering estimates from architects so he can make a formal proposal for the addition.

“It works miraculously well,” said Bob Townley, executive director of Manhattan Youth. The non-profit organization, which runs after school programs at P.S. 234 and other schools, would use some of the additional classroom space.

Paul Rose, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, said that the department had approved a request from Switzer to knock down a wall at P.S. 234 and create one new classroom. For this project, the department would use skilled trade workers paid for by department funds, Rose said.

Rose would not comment on the plans for a three-story addition, saying the agency was waiting for Switzer’s response to its approval. Switzer was not available for comment.


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