Thursday, April 15, 2010

City to Open PS 290 in Maspeth Until Ridgewood Building is Completed

While the city Department of Education continues negotiations with the owner of the former Rite Aid site on Metropolitan Avenue – eyed as the future site of PS 290 – officials announced that the new school will open this fall on the IS 73 campus in Maspeth. Students of the planned school will attend classes at the temporary location until construction is completed at the Ridgewood property.

The city recently unveiled plans to build a 600-seat school on the Rite Aid site at 55-20 Metropolitan Avenue. However, the city doesn’t yet own the site and doesn’t expect to open the new PS 290 there until 2014. Since District 24 is the most overcrowded in the city, there is a sense of urgency to begin opening the new K-5 school as soon as possible to help alleviate the strain.

“While we work hard to acquire a permanent home for the school, the temporary location of PS290 is an important step that will let us relieve overcrowding faster in a district that really needs it. The proposal will leave both IS73 and PS 290 with enough space to serve their students,” the DOE said in a statement.

In the fall, PS 290 will open to 50 to 75 students who were denied enrollment at PS 153 or PS 71 because of capacity issues there. One additional grade level will be introduced at the campus each year, until the school is moved to its permanent location in four years, at which time pre-kindergarten classes will be offered. In addition, PS 290 will be a zoned elementary school, meaning DOE will rezone the area prior to the building’s opening.

The PS 290 incubation plan is contingent on approval by the Panel for Educational Policy, which is due to meet on April 20. The City Council must approve the purchase of the Rite Aid property before the DOE can finalize that agreement and begin construction.

A public hearing on this proposal was held on Wednesday evening in Maspeth. If the DOE is unable to open the Metropolitan Avenue site in 2014, the PS 290 students will remain in their temporary home on the IS 73 campus.

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