The School Construction Authority (SCA), the agency that builds new schools in New York, has requested funding in the next city budget for not one but four new schools in or near Downtown Brooklyn!
After years of trying to get the SCA to include up-to-date numbers that factor in new residential development into their planning, the SCA finally agrees with us that a lot more school seats need to be built in our area. In District 13 (Downtown north of Fulton / DUMBO / Brooklyn Heights / Fort Greene) they’ve increased the projected need for seats from 1090 to 3417…more than a threefold increase since 2013! In District 15 (Downtown south of Fulton / Cobble Hill / Gowanus / Carroll Gardens / Boerum Hill) the projected need for new school seats has increased from 640 to 2192! That’s a lot of additional kids.
The SCA acknowledged this increased need in the proposed SCA Capital Plan that was just released. This plan includes requests for funding in the next annual city budget. If approved and funded, this is what we can expect to happen based on information in the Capital Plan:
- DISTRICT 13 (Downtown north of Fulton / DUMBO / Brooklyn Heights / Fort Greene): 3 new elementary schools will be built somewhere in the area. Planning for the first 572-seat would start in April of this year for completion Sept. 2019! The second 476-seat school would be completed in Sept. 2020, and the third 572-seat school is scheduled for completion for July of 2021. Currently there is a new middle school opening up in DUMBO in fall 2016 and a new middle school under construction at Pacific Park / Atlantic Yards to open in 2019.
- DISTRICT 15 (Downtown south of Fulton / Cobble Hill / Gowanus / Carroll Gardens / Boerum Hill) : 1 new 824-seat school to open either 2020 or 2021 in the area. Also in the works is a 436-seat addition to P.S. 32 in Carroll Gardens.
The biggest hurdle facing the SCA (once the seats are funded) is finding the appropriately-sized space to build new schools. So much of Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods are already in the midst of redevelopment – there are few suitable large sites for schools available. Where exactly these schools will be located in these neighborhoods will be determined by where they can find space since they rarely use imminent domain any more.
But all and all this is terrific news and it means that a severe overcrowding problem as a result of all the new development may be averted! And hopefully Downtown Brooklyn will finally get a neighborhood elementary school.
- Here is a link to the January 2016 Proposed SCA Capital Plan (PDF).