City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has joined the search for new pre-K locations in Greenwich Village, after news leaked last week that the pre-K classes would be bumped from overcrowded PS 3 and PS 41. An emergency task force has been assembled and, according to an email from Quinn sent this morning, they have been busy scouting locations for the Department of Education. Last Wednesday, Quinn showed up briefly at the protest on the steps of City Hall and spoke with a little boy and several parents. Two days later she met with Chancellor Klein and formed the task force.
The full text of the Speaker's email, and a second email from task force member Rebecca Daniels, after the jump:
May 12, 2009Dear Neighbor,As you may know on Friday May 8th I met with New York City Department of Education (DOE) Chancellor Joel Klein to discuss pre-kindergarten and kindergarten enrollment for Fall 2009 in the West Village. At this meeting we formed a rapid response task force to find instructional space within Greenwich Village that could be used for a one-year relocation of three pre-kindergarten classrooms. This task force, which includes the DOE, District 2 CEC President Daniels, my staff, and staff from the offices of Congressional Representative Nadler, Borough President Stringer, Assemblymember Glick, and State Senator Duane. Members of the task force have been meeting and doing site visits and will continue to do so over the next 3 days. We plan to have preliminary results on Thursday in time for the CEC meeting that night. As such, I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the work the task force has done so far. First, we reviewed all the sites that have been proposed over the last year, eliminating those that were not actually available next year, required new construction, or were otherwise inappropriate for the Fall of 2009. Among the sites eliminated were:? City as School building ? Pier 40? Pier 57? 437-451 West 13th Street? 31 West 15th Street? 304 Hudson Street? 325 Spring Street? Barnes and Noble: 675 Avenue of the Americas? Circuit City:52 East 14th Street? Virgin Megastore: East 14th StreetFollowing this we focused in on the sites with the greatest potential. To date, we have toured the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center and have tours scheduled today for 345 West 14th Street, the former Chelsea Day School location; 27 Barrow Street, the former Greenwich House Preschool; and the former Balducci's location at 81 8th Avenue. In addition to these tours we have reached out to The Academy of Saint Joseph's and the McBurney YMCA and anticipate touring these sites shortly.The tour of the Tony Dapolito Recreation Center showed some obvious advantages and disadvantages that my staff was able to identify. There is room on the 3rd floor of the recreation center for some pre-kindergarten facilities; however, the SCA will have to continue conversations with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreations in order to fully research the location.Now that we have specific site criteria, members of the task force are also re-canvassing the neighborhood--calling local private schools, community based organizations, and religious institutions to see if they have any unused classrooms that could be repurposed. We are continuing to work with New York University to explore options within the university and possible leads that they may provide within the greater Greenwich Village community. In addition we are working with the Mayor's Office to research the possibility of using any City-owned sites in Greenwich Village. We have a commitment from DOE to explore all feasible sites that we raise. We have already received some locations from community members. If you know of any sites that you feel should be considered please reach out to my District Office staff. DOE and SCA site parameters are listed here: http://schools.nyc.gov/NR/rdonlyres/A53604A4-02CB-43B4-B212-DF6B78FEC23B/60851/GreenwichVillagePreKletter.pdfIf you would like to remain updated on my efforts to address school overcrowding, please contact Melanie La Rocca in my office at
or (212) 564-7757 to be added to my email list.
Sincerely,Christine C. Quinn
Colleagues,I am on the Speaker's Task Force and have just returned from showings.I have recommended St. Joesph' Academy and am pleased to report, we finally worked through it. It is fabulous space and appears to meet all codes (except possibly needing to remove religious symbols). They are applying for charter school status. The Superintendent will have to give final approval on the DOE's interest in renting.The former site of the Village Preschool/ Chelsea Day is not suitable. A pipe burst, there is water damage and the ceiling has weakened. It won't work.27 Barrow looks like a strong possibility. The classrooms are suitable, there is a darling gym on the floor above, and there is outdoor roof space.Balducci's is beautiful but limited to the 1st floor. The second means of egress is too narrow. A ceiling would have to be created to allow three rooms. This may not be cost effective for one year. It could make an interesting school...Lastly, I showed them a space on W 12th between W 4th and Greenwich Street. For those of you familiar with the West Village, this is the former site of Moody's catering. The ground floor has glass frontage and there are two floors above. This is grandfathered commercial space. This would probably be limited to space for one of the two GV schools.This afternoon, I am going to check out a space on 7th Avenue South. Carmine has an unreliable elevator (other parents from this community may remember from soccer and GVLl picture days), and it would be difficult to configure the classrooms.The task force has daily meetings. I will be in touch with the group at 4:30 PM, and am on the calls, daily.Best,Rebecca