The report requested school space studies as a part of ULURP among other recommendations. In response to this article, on September 23, 2019, the School Construction Authority contacted Cityland to respond to Bronx Borough President Rubin Diaz Jr.’s recommendations.
An official from the School Construction Authority noted that 208 of the 354 original Transportable Classroom Units (TCUs) throughout the City have been removed, and an additional 72 have been identified for removal.
The School Construction Authority clarified that it currently works collaboratively with HPD and City Planning to analyze new housing developments and their impact on where it should add seats. In addition to currently providing five-year projections, the School Construction Authority recently issued requests for proposals for a real estate broker, consultant, and title specialist and will be taking the additional step of advertising in order to solicit potential properties for new school sites.
In response to President Diaz’ recommendation to pilot a privately-managed request for proposal process, the School Construction Authority responded that it is already in the practice using a combination of in-house personnel and consultants. While the report suggested that School Construction Authority should consider leasing more space for schools in order to immediately alleviate overcrowding in the highest-need areas, the School Construction Authority responded that it is currently leasing over 300 locations and the portfolio continues to grow.
The report also called for an increase in transparency with the School Construction Authority to provide information to all stakeholders including elected officials, parents and communities. The School Construction Authority responded that it currently provides quarterly reports on the status of each of its projects as well as yearly updates and amendments to its capital plan. In addition, the School Construction Authority maintains that it constantly participates in public meetings that range from neighborhood associations and PTAs to community boards, CEC, City Council and Mayoral Town Hall meetings.
The School Construction Authority offered that the agency is making strides in constructing a new, 572 seat primary school, located at 639 St. Ann’s Avenue in the Bronx, which was part of the New York City Economic Development Corporation’s lower concourse north rezoning initiative in 2009. The SCA reported opening a new 344 seat addition in September 2018 at Fairview Public School in Queens and anticipates opening the new primary school at 1302 Edward L. Grant Highway in September 2023. SCA reports that other new school openings include a new primary school in the Bronx at 2355 Morris Avenue in September 2023 and a new seat annex at Public School 33 in Manhattan in September 2021. The School Construction Authority anticipates opening a new Stand-Alone Gym at Public School 246 in 2020.
An official contact at the School Construction Authority stated, “We welcome the Borough President’s report in that it reasserts that we are doing something right. Each of [President Diaz’] SCA-specific recommendations are things we already perform.”
By: Abby Cannon (Abby is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2020.)