Home at Last, Home at Last! Students Return to P.S. 60 Building After MLK Day

photo(71)Daniel Maurer A moving van outside of the P.S. 60 building today.

Nearly four months after evacuating their building due to structural issues, students and staff at East Side Community High School and Girls Prep Middle School are set to return Wednesday morning.

Today’s classes will be the last in East Side’s makeshift classrooms at Norman Thomas High School and P.S. 1. Middle and high school students will enjoy a long weekend while teachers move back into the building on East 12th Street.

East Side parents have been signing up through the school’s website to help clean classrooms, move boxes and unpack materials. “We got too many responses,” said Mark Federman, principal at East Side. “We had to tell them we’re full. Our parents have just been great.”

Students haven’t returned to the space since a wall was found to have separated from the structure in late September. Construction started soon after the evacuation, and according to a Department of Education statement, all interior work is now complete, a month ahead of schedule.

photo(70)Daniel Maurer Workers repairing the side of the building today.

Mr. Federman said exterior work will continue when school is not in session, but that he is satisfied with the new structure and the speed of the construction. The best thing about returning to the space, he said, will be having the middle school and high school under one roof again. “We’ve been able to remain strong, but I do think there’s so much we do that relies on being a community,” he said, adding, “we spent a lot of time creating a school building that is friendly to learning and really feels like home. It’s not just walls.”

Returning to normal scheduling and logistics will also be a relief, Mr. Federman noted. “You don’t realize how many systems you have in place. The school runs really smoothly. Having to recreate those or live without them has been hard.”

Girls Prep, which shares the building, plans to be moved back in by Tuesday, when they will resume teaching class. “We are all focused right now on making the move happen smoothly,” Ian Rowe, CEO of the Public Preparatory Network, said in an e-mail. “But suffice it to say, our parents, teachers and students are all relieved to be going back home.”