High Marks From Board For School
Approve Plan For Larger Academy
By an overwhelming majority, members of Brooklyn Community Board 4 voted at their June 18 meeting to recommend approval of plans to build an extension of the All City Leadership Secondary School adjacent to the Ridgewood Bushwick Youth Center.
Prior to the vote, the advisory body received a presentation on the proposed 400-seat facility by School Construction Authority representatives Kenrick Oh, John Diaz and Slobodan Bekvalac.
Currently housed at the RBYC (which is operated in conjunction with the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council), the All City Leadership Academy educates over 250 students, according to the center's executive director Robert Santos. Should the extension be built, he noted, the enrollment would increase to over 400 pupils from grades six through 12.
Bekvalac outlined details of the project, which would result in the creation of a four-story, 50,000 sq. ft. facility located on Palmetto Street between Myrtle and Irving avenues adjacent to the youth center. Twelve classrooms would be created, two of which would be reserved for special education classes.
Diaz stated that six intermediate classes (grades six through eight) and six high school classes (nine through 12) would be educated on separate floors within the new building.
Preliminary plans for the extension include the creation of science labs, an art classroom, an auditorium and a student library. Bekvalac noted that 60 percent of the design and development of the expansion project has been finished; it is anticipated the blueprints will be completed by early August.
"We're complying with all green standards," Diaz added, noting that the SCA will install energy-efficient devices throughout the building.
The new school and the RBYC will remain connected physically through an enclosed corridor linking the two structures, Diaz said.
Several local residents asked SCA officials if off-street parking spots would be created for teachers at the academy. One individual said that cars line streets in the vicinity of the youth center are "loaded" with parked vehicles on a daily basis, a problem which the resident observed would be aggravated if teachers at the new school are forced to park on the street.
But Bekvalac noted that there are no plans to provide parking for faculty members, as the Department of Education does not have a policy requiring offstreet parking spaces at new schools.
When asked whether the school would be reserved for local students, Santos stated that while enrollment would be open to all students, advertisements would be placed locally to ensure Bushwick children have the first and best opportunity to get a seat.
Following the presentation, Land Use Committee Chairperson Martha Brown spoke on behalf of the panel in support of the project, noting that the plans would prove to be a positive for the entire community.
Even with the board's recommendation, the public may still provide its comments regarding the project to the SCA through July 7, Oh said. Once the comment period is concluded and an environmental impact statement is completed, he noted, the authority will then determine whether to send the project to the City Council for final approval.
Diaz indicated that the SCA is targeting an opening of the extension for the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.
A local resident asked Board 4 to ask the MTA to reopen secondary entrances at several elevated train stations along the J train line above Broadway. Though originally closed by the authority for security reasons, the resident suggested that the entryways should be made available once again to commuters since crime has dropped in recent years.
Whitted noted that the board has discussed the idea previously with MTA officials, who indicated their hesitance toward reopening the secondary entrances while keeping sales booths near them unoccupied. Nevertheless, she stated the advisory body would invite transit officials to attend a future public hearing on the subject.
Parliamentarian Odolphus Wright complained about a recent rash of vehicular accidents along Bushwick Avenue and urged the board to press the city's Department of Transportation to provide additional traffic control measures along the strip.
The district manager stated that the board has received information from the Police Department regarding several accident-prone intersections such as Bushwick Avenue at Eastern Parkway. In past years, she added, the intersection of Bushwick and Flushing avenues has also seen its share of crashes and fender-benders.
Whitted indicated that the board would inquire with the DOT regarding changing the pattern of stoplights along Bushwick Avenue in the hope of reducing accidents.
Thanks for parade
Board Chairperson Julie Dent and District Manager Nadine Whitted offered thanks to the board's Civic and Religious Committee and all others who worked together to coordinate the June 5 Bushwick Pride Parade.
Whitted noted that over 350 marchers took part in the event that wound through local streets, including school bands, church members and local artists. The event wrapped up with a celebratory barbecue at the Hope Gardens Community Center.
New board members
Dent welcomed the following new members to the advisory body: Nicholas Angustia, Alvin Aviles, Laura Braslow, Deborah Brown, Fred Fowler, Linda McKinley, Judy Perkins and Lola Robinson.
Brooklyn Community Board 4 has not scheduled meetings in July and August. Their next session is set to take place on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at the Hope Gardens Senior Center, located at 195 Linden St. in Bushwick.
For more information, call Board 4's office at 1-718-628- 8400.
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