Volume 22, Number 11 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 31 - August 6, 2009

City favors moving Village middle school to FiDi

By Julie Shapiro

The city is solidifying its proposal to move Greenwich Village Middle School to 26 Broadway, an office building near Bowling Green, for fall 2010.

The Dept. of Education previously put 26 Broadway on the table as a new location for G.V.M.S. Now, 26 Broadway has moved up to become the city’s first choice for the school’s new home, said John White, head of the D.O.E.’s Office of Portfolio Development.

Greenwich Village Middle School has to move from its current Hudson St. building, which it shares with P.S. 3, because the space is overcrowded.

The D.O.E. will consult with the District 2 Community Education Council and the school’s community before making a final decision, White said Tuesday at a meeting led by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“It is a space that makes sense,” White said, because it matches the Greenwich Village school’s size and is near many public transportation options.

If the D.O.E. proceeds with the move, it could lead to an uproar. When the city first floated 26 Broadway as a possible new home for G.V.M.S. last month, several Village parents objected, saying they wanted to keep the school seats in their neighborhood.

“We need a middle school in our neighborhood and G.V.M.S. was founded as a middle school for the Village,” Ann Kjellberg, a Village parent, said last month. “Having schools in your neighborhood is a reasonable expectation.”

Village parents and the C.E.C. had been hoping for a different location for G.V.M.S., ideally 75 Morton St.

White said Bayard Rustin High School and P.S. 33 in Chelsea are also options, but neither had all of the advantages of 26 Broadway.

While Village parents often argue that they don’t want to send their children far from home, White said that only 18 out of the 222 students at G.V.M.S. come from the Village’s P.S. 3 and P.S. 41 zones, meaning that the vast majority already travel to get to the school. Many students come from the West Side, Chinatown, P.S. 234 in Tribeca and P.S. 89 in Battery Park City, White told Downtown Express.

About a year ago, the city suggested moving I.S. 89, another middle school, from Battery Park City to 26 Broadway, but the city tabled the idea after parent uproar about the suitability of the location for children because there is no space for a yard or a gym.

If G.V.M.S. moves to 26 Broadway, it would go on the sixth and seventh floors, just above the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, a high school moving to the fourth and fifth floors of the building this fall.

The Greenwich Village school’s move further downtown would definitely require a name change, a decision White said would be left up to the school and its community.

White said he would discuss the potential move with parents at the next C.E.C. meeting in August.

With reporting
by Albert Amateau




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