Volume 16 • Issue 53 | May 28 - June 3, 2004

City official says new school will be east of Broadway

By Elizabeth O’Brien

Lower Manhattan can look forward to the creation of a new public school east of Broadway, said Mariano Guzman, the new deputy superintendent for local schools.

Guzman, who replaced Roy Moskowitz one month ago, appeared before a Community Board 1 youth and education committee meeting on May 25. The city Department of Education released a budget last year that provides for three new schools in the local district, but Guzman was the first school official to confirm publicly that the new school slated for Downtown would be located east of Broadway.

The school will serve 630 students in grades kindergarten through eight in 90,000 square feet, Guzman said. He said the empty lot at 250 Water St. has been named a possible location for the school, which would be completed in 2006 or 2007.

The lot at 250 Water St. has a contentious history that might make it difficult for the Department of Education to take quick action on a school there, observers say. Milstein Properties owns the land, and over the years the company has proposed a number of largely residential projects for the site. The lot at 250 Water St. falls within the South Street Seaport Historic District, and Milstein has sued the city over the 120-foot height limit imposed last year on the district.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has also named 250 Water St. as a possible location for a support facility for the proposed Second Ave. subway, which would take up a small portion of the lot.

The Milsteins could not be reached for comment.

Guzman did not address the other proposed uses or the pending litigation on 250 Water St. and did not take questions from reporters after the meeting.

Guzman serves under Peter Heaney, the superintendent for Region 9. With 200 schools and 105,000 students, Region 9 is the largest of the city’s 10 instructional regions. It stretches from Lower Manhattan, up the East Side and into the South Bronx.

Many Downtown classrooms are already over capacity, and the crowding is expected to worsen as the local housing boom continues. Guzman acknowledged that Downtown needs more elbow room but said its crowding problem is hardly unique.

“As I look at the entire region, there are lots of places that are really squeezed for space,” Guzman said.

Guzman, who has spent most of his career in education, came to the city from the Sept. 11 Fund, where he distributed money to local schools and cultural organizations. His children attended P.S. 234 in Tribeca.

Paul Hovitz, chairperson of the youth and education committee, applauded Guzman’s accessibility.

“We needed this contact,” Hovitz said. “We needed a face.”


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