Tutoring Center Owner Seeks Space for Private School in DUMBO

By Janet Upadhye on March 12, 2014 9:45am 

 Owner Liz Frank works with students at educational center Abundant Learning in DUMBO.
Owner Liz Frank works with students at educational center Abundant Learning in DUMBO.
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DUMBO — A teacher who runs a popular tutoring program is searching for a space to open a private school in DUMBO after being denied a spot in one of the recently sold Watchtower buildings in Brooklyn Heights.

Liz Frank — who runs the educational center Abundant Learning at 68 Jay St. — said she has ample parent interest, a board of directors, partial funding, NYS Board of Regents approval and a pending nonprofit status for her planned school.

But she still needs a space large enough for the facility, which is eventually expected to serve grades pre-K through 8. This is the subject of an information session Wednesday night.

"One of the biggest challenges is real estate," she said. "All of these new people are moving into DUMBO and there are all of these families and no infrastructure.

"There needs to be a call to action for developers to start providing space for schools."

Frank said her proposed school — which she is calling The Kirkman Academy — will serve 120 children in pre-K through first grade in its first year and requires at least 10,000 square feet to meet students' needs.

She was recently denied space in the former Watchtower buildings, now owned by Kushner Companies. But she is eyeing spots at two housing developments in the area, the Dock Street Project and One Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Kushner Companies declined to comment.

If those DUMBO spots don't pan out, Frank plans to look for a building in the nearby Navy Yard area or Downtown Brooklyn.

With or without the space, Frank is forging ahead with plans for the school, which is expected to cost $30,000 per year. Ten percent of students will receive full scholarships.

The school's curriculum will be based on the "Mind, Brain, Education philosophy," which focuses on how a child's emotions can affect learning.

"With some additional energy, The Kirkman Academy will soon be a brick and mortar experience offering a local, excellent school," she said.

Frank is hosting an informational session on March 12 at Dabney Lee’s at 45 Washington St. in DUMBO at 7 p.m.

The Board of Regents said Kirkman Academy was granted a three-year provisional charter in September 2013.

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