Students Shut Out of P.S. 60 Till Early Next Year

east sideDana Varinsky

After almost a month of using makeshift classrooms in buildings around the city, East Side Community High School and Girls Prep Middle School received more bad news this week: construction on their evacuated East 12th Street building is now slated to last into February.

In a letter to parents, Kathleen Grimm, Deputy Chancellor of the Department of Education, said that repair of the building’s east side, where on Sept. 24 a wall was found to have separated from the structure, would involve the basement-to-roof construction of a new masonry-and-steel wall. “This work will take several months to complete,” said Ms. Grimm. The new plan is to move the schools back into the building during their February break, after which the building’s brick facade will continue to be rebuilt off-hours.

photo-312Dana Varinsky The building today.

In his own letter to families, Mark Federman, the principal of East Side Community High School, wrote that he would keep working to make the temporary school sites satisfactory. “In an ideal world we would love to bring the middle school and high school together under one roof that fits us all, is close to East Side and makes us feel comfortable,” Mr. Federman wrote. “We are not sure if this is possible, but we will certainly try.”

Ann Lazaroff, whose son is a ninth grader at East Side, agreed that she would like to see all students share one building, and reiterated concerns expressed by fellow parents about the school building where high schoolers are currently attending classes. “There’s nothing bad about Norman Thomas,” she said. “I just don’t think any kids, not ours or any others, should be there in that building, I don’t think it’s set up as a proper school. There’s no windows on the inside. You can’t do that to human beings and expect them to be happy in that building all day long.”

Ms. Lazaroff was skeptical about the Department of Education’s new timeline. “I certainly don’t believe that it needs to take that long,” she said. “I think that’s just them prolonging it just like they’ve done with everything else in the city.”

Maria Green, whose son is also in the ninth grade at East Side, isn’t happy about the timeline but said safety was her primary concern. “I am grateful that they are actually going to work on it. I would rather it be safe than they would get back in there quickly,” she said.

Girls Prep was relocated to the Bayard Taylor School on the Upper East Side, while East Side middle schoolers are now at P.S. 1 on the Lower East Side.