Local leaders in an east Bronx community were surprised to learn that a neighborhood elementary school is slated for a ‘yuuge’ extension.
The School Construction Authority has put out to bid plans to add another 20 classrooms to P.S. 14 the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association discovered. Some in the group feel that the expansion may be too big.
The annex would effectively double the size of the existing school building, adding approximately 340 seats to the school that WLCA board members believe is not overcrowded, but which the SCA contends is at 159% capacity, according to sources.
The civic group had favored a more modest expansion, said Community Board 10 Youth and Education Committee chairman Bob Bieder, who joined the WLCA’s Mary Jane Musano and Andrew Chirico for a meeting to discuss the project with SCA president Lorraine Grillo, at Councilman James Vacca’s office on Tuesday, May 10, attendees said.
Vacca said he had already scaled back the original annex plan.
It previously included 475 seats. The councilman also said that the first plan called for a four-story addition, but now its only 3-stories.
“About two years ago, I heard about the extension,” said Vacca. “I thought it was too big and I had (the size) reduced.”
It was commonly known for about two years that there was going to be an extension of some type to P.S. 14, however SCA did not share the design with the WLCA or anyone else besides Vacca and the school’s officials.
“It is going to be a period of inconvenience, there is no doubt about it,” said Vacca about the pending construction, adding “The SCA admitted that it had erred in not sharing the design beyond the school.”
The councilman said that he was still waiting to here back from SCA about what effect, if any, the project would have on homeowners close to the school on Hollywood Avenue.
He is also concerned about how the school would look ascetically, he said.
Musano said that according to her conversations with school parents, an overcrowding condition does not exist.
She also said that a group of parents have drafted a petition calling for a further reduction of the expansion’s size.
“What we want to see is a smaller project to get the kindergarten classes that are in trailers now into the school building,” Musano said.
She also expressed concerns, as did Chirico, that the additional school children at the facility would create an unbearable traffic situation on Crosby Avenue at drop off and pick up times.
Bieder was more upbeat about the proposed expansion, saying that it was inevitable that school seats would be needed as neighboring schools like P.S. 71, which was expanded from K-5 to K-8, continue to face overcrowding.
Bieder said that the SCA is expected to present the plans to the committee at CB 10 on Monday, May 23 and then later to the full board for review.