Relocation plans discussed for students after Paterson school closes due to safety concerns

Lucy Yang Image
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Relocation plans discussed after ceiling collapses at NJ school
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Officials and parents of PS. 3 in Paterson discussed relocation plans for the school's 302 students after a ceiling collapse raised safety concerns. Lucy Yang has the story.

PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- The excitement of going back to school has been lost on more than 300 students at a Kindergarten through eight grade school in New Jersey, after their 124-year-old building started falling apart last month.

When school starts in two weeks, the 302 young scholars of PS. 3 in Paterson will not be coming back to their century-old building.

That's because part of the ceiling came down in one of the rooms this summer and it's feared there's asbestos in the crumbling plaster.

The plans are to bus the young students to other locations. Kindergarten through second grade will go to the Dale Avenue school and third through eight grade will be taught at the MLK Educational Center.

The students will stay together, in their own classrooms in the other locations.

"She's scared. She's afraid," said parent Erica Escobar.

Escobar has a daughter in third grade and fears there are too many loose ends so close to the start of school.

"They're just sugar coating," she said. "We're going to do this and that but not a definite answer."

There was an open meeting Tuesday night for exactly those concerns. The administration admitted that parents brought up good points on logistics.

"We need to go back and think more deeply how we're going to accommodate some of these questions," Paterson Schools Superintendent Dr. Laurie Newell said.

Megan McLaughlin of the Oasis after school program said that the school has yet to secure transportation.

"So, we're sitting in this meeting, looking for information they don't currently have," she said.

Plans are to host another meeting next Tuesday. The hope is that more details will be ironed out by then.

"I used to go to that school, and nothing has changed," high school senior Kelly Herrera said.

The superintendent says they won't make any decisions on how to fix all the crumbing plaster until all the students are settled in September.

Eyewitness News was told there are cracks in at least two other classrooms.

It could take half the school year for the renovations to be made, and that's being optimistic.

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