Is Atlantic Yards the Answer?

atlantic_yardsIn our opinion, no!

According to a couple of recent reports, the DOE sounds like they are looking to the Atlantic Yards project next to Barclay’s Center as the location of a new District 13 school now budgeted under the next 5-year capital plan.  It would be included in the base of one of the new residential towers in Phase II of the project. A recent NY1 report on Downtown Brooklyn got this quote from the DOE:

“We are aware of the concerns of families and community members in Downtown Brooklyn and District 13 as a whole about capacity needs in this area.  The new Capital Plan calls for the creation of around 750 elementary and middle school new seats around Downtown Brooklyn, in District 13, as part of the Atlantic Yards development.”

But this school has been in the plans for Atlantic Yards from the beginning and a K-8 school with around 750 seats would not even be able to accommodate all of the new residents of that development which will add 6400+ residential units to the edge of Prospect Heights. What about the residents of the nearly 16,000+ units being built in Downtown Brooklyn? What about the residents of DoBro living in District 15 who will also need more space, where is their new school going to be constructed?

According to a recent posting in the Atlantic Yards Report, Forest City Ratner is in discussions with the School Construction Authority about where on the site a school might be built. Several of the locations present problems due to their proximity to Atlantic Ave and Flatbush – busy traffic-choked streets. No matter what, it doesn’t look like a school would get built there until at least 2021.

According to the most recent Atlantic Yards Environment Impact report:

“Phase II of the Project would be expected to introduce approximately 2,712 students to the project site, comprising 1,430 elementary school students, 592 intermediate school students, and 690 high school students….increasing the elementary school utilization rate in CSD 13/Sub-District 1 by 88 percentage points, and bringing total utilization to 220 percent.”

The environmental impact study admits and plainly states that the new school would only accommodate a portion of the future need (just 750 new total seats vs. nearly 2000 new K-8 students) created by just the Atlantic Yards project.  Where will the rest of those children go to school? There certainly won’t be any more room in the existing schools.

So is Atlantic Yards the answer? The answer is… not by a long shot. We need multiple new schools in Downtown Brooklyn soon in safe, central locations. Come on DOE, get realistic.

Here’s a couple of links: