Groups want old building turned into school

August 6, 2008 4:18:09 PM PDT
Community groups are protesting the proposed sale of some expensive real estate. The state of New York wants to sell it because it needs the money.

The groups want the unused state building for a school because students need the space.

"We're saying to the state and to the city that this is an ideal location for a new middle school," said Brad Hoylman, Community Board # 2 president.

Wednesday's rally was aimed at turning 75 Morton Street into a middle school.

"It's a very cost-effective manner at getting a new school, a badly needed school. Not just in our neighborhood, but throughout the whole district," parent Robert Ely said.

Ely has been passing out flyers about the rally with his daughters, Elizabeth and Katie. Elizabeth is in a 4th grade class of 30 students.

"And it's hard with 29 other kids in the class because sometimes you don't get the attention you need," she said.

The community wants the state of New York to change its plans to sell the huge building to a private developer. The building has held the state's Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

"We're utilizing part of an elementary school, two blocks from here, as a middle school. Moving that middle school here and expanding it would provide relief to surrounding elementary schools," said Assemblymember Deborah Glick.

That elementary school is P.S. 3, which houses the Greenwich Village Academy Middle School on its top floor.

"We're dancing around each other. The principal of Greenwich Village Academy and I work very closely and compatibly together, but it really is like dancing in a tight space," Principal Lisa Siegman said.

Eyewitness News has been following efforts to ease school overcrowding in Manhattan's District Two. Some parents in the area are counting on 75 Morton Street.

"We are the citizens of the state of New York and the state is the owner of the building, so we would certainly like our input to be heard about its destiny," said parent Ann Kjellberg.

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