SCHOOL TO BECOME HOUSING
By DAVID ANDREATTA Education Reporter
July 17, 2006 -- As the city Department of Education awaits a
multibillion-dollar court-ordered windfall to ease overcrowding in schools, it
has rejected revamping a storied East Harlem
school building - claiming the neighborhood doesn't need the seats.
Now the building, the former PS 109 on East 99th Street, has gained
the attention of the City Council, which quietly earmarked $1 million to
convert the historic school into 65 housing units for artists.
"[The DOE] feels that by converting the building to affordable housing,
the needs of the community will be met to a greater degree than they would if
the building were to be reverted to a school," Deputy Chancellor Kathleen
Grimm wrote to the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development in
March. A group called the Coalition to Save PS 109 is fighting to resurrect the
school, which closed in 1996.
"You never give up public-school space, you just don't," said Gwen
Goodwin of the coalition.