P.S. 14 parents, community continue to protest plans to double size of school

(l-r) Victoria Malone, Jayden Gale, Ryan Malone and Edward Sanchez with their ‘save our school’ posters.
Photo courtesy of Mary Jane Musano

P.S. 14’s expansion plan has come under fire.

A coalition of community members and parents believe the enlargement of the Hollywood Avenue school is too big and are calling on the School Construction Authority to halt the project until they have their questions answered.

The project has probably already been put out to bid, according to sources.

The opposition voiced their displeasure at a Community Board 10 meeting at the school on Thursday, May 19, and a CB 10 Youth and Education Committee meeting on Monday, May 23.

Traffic conditions at pick up and drop off time, proximity of the annex to a nearby house, the loss of parkland, were some of the concerns addressed.

“Let’s stop and rethink this and get a consensus so that people feel that they are part of the process,” said WLCA board member Mary Jane Musano, who favors a smaller addition.

Local business leader John Cerini also wanted more communication between the community and the SCA.

He was particularly concerned about the current traffic congestion at P.S. 14 at the start and end of the school day.

The SCA should first gather feedback from the stakeholders and then ask if the planned expansion is good by the community, said Cerini, who acknowledged the need for more student seats in Pelham Bay and Throggs Neck.

The plan calls for a building roughly the current size of P.S. 14, constructed to the right of the existing schoolhouse along Hollywood Avenue, which would be practically against Romana Campisi’s 2-family house, the homeowner said.

“What really concerns me is this building will be right up to the wall of my house,” said Campisi, adding that the building would block air and light to her home and outdoor seating areas.

She is also concerned about diminished air quality during the construction, as a family member has asthma, she said.

“I don’t think it is a good project to have on this block; it is just too big,” she said.

P.S. 14 parent Gianna Dell’Olio said that the school definitely needs more space, but that the location of the school, at the Bruckner Expressway, poses serious traffic problems.

As it stands now, one of her fellow parents gets to the school an hour in advance of dismissal to secure a nearby parking space. She added that many parents triple-park when they pick up their children.

CB 10 plans to send a letter to the SCA outlining community concerns said the district manager Kenneth Kearns.

The board’s Youth and Education Committee on May 23 included a presentation by an SCA official, who said the agency is not required to conduct a traffic study before a project is put out to bid, stated meeting attendee Andrew Chirico, WLCA board member.

“If (the SCA) really felt that they were doing the right thing, they would not…be pushing people out of the decision making process,” said Musano. “This is not a community that is being unreasonable. They are not saying no extension.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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