Work begins to open high school in September

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Downtown Express photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio

Millennium High School’s new home.

Construction has begun on the new home for Millennium High School at 75 Broad St. under an accelerated plan to open part of the building to students this September.

“The push has started,” said Roy Moskowitz, special counsel for Instructional Division 9, which includes the former School District 2. He said work had gotten underway within the past week.

The school will occupy floors 11 through 13 of the office building, as well as part of the ground level. Workers will focus on completing the 13th floor first, Moskowitz said, so that classes can begin there this fall even if the whole project isn’t finished. In addition, workers will install three elevators to be used exclusively by the school.

Moskowitz said that the building’s landlord has signed the lease for the school. He said that he did not know if all the required Department of Education personnel had signed the lease yet, but added that this step was a formality. The architectural firm HLW has handled the school’s design.

“The design of the school is very nice — I’m very excited with what we’ve put together,” said Madelyn Wils, chairperson of Community Board 1, at a June meeting of C.B. 1’s youth and education committee.

F.J. Sciame Construction, Inc. is the construction manager for the project. Frank Sciame, the firm’s C.E.O., is also developing historic Front St. in the South Street Seaport.

In spite of the ambitious construction schedule, community members and school officials have said that Governor George Pataki’s public commitment to Millennium means that every effort will be made to open the school in time for the new school year.

In an April speech outlining his timetable for rebuilding Lower Manhattan, Pataki called on the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to fund “up to $3 million” of Millennium’s construction costs.

“The L.M.D.C. contribution will insure that the Millennium High School will open this September,” Pataki said.

The governor is not the only official with a personal stake in the timely opening of the school. Moskowitz, a Department of Education attorney and administrator, has pledged to grow his beard until the doors of 75 Broad St. are flung open to students.

“I’m looking forward to shaving it off, but not before the kids get into Millennium,” Moskowitz said last Friday.

Millennium, whose official name is Millennium/ Tribeca High School, opened last fall in a temporary Midtown location that school officials said it would likely outgrow with the addition of more than 125 new students this fall. CB. 1 officials said previously that if the Millennium opening is delayed, students would probably open the school year at the temporary location, Art & Design High School, until the Broad St. building is ready.

Paul Hovitz, chairperson of C.B. 1’s youth and education committee, suggested on Friday that the school’s official name be changed, since the institution has never been located in Tribeca. The name Millennium Downtown High School would be a “shot in the arm that the community deserves,” Hovitz said.


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