By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
BROOKLYN — The city approved Girls Prep Charter School to move its middle school classes to an existing school building in the East Village Wednesday, ending the charter's search for a new home.
The Department of Education's Panel for Educational Policy voted unanimously in favor of relocating Girls Prep to the East Side Community High School building on East 12th Street, where it will expand to serve fifth-, sixth- and seventh-graders starting next school year.
"We're ecstatic to finally have a permanent home," said Ian Rowe, CEO of the Public Prep network, which includes Girls Prep. "This is something that our parents and our organization have been working toward for a long time."
Girls Prep's middle school grades are currently housed in a building in Astor Place after a battle over classroom space last year forced the charter's middle school-grades to relocate from its East Houston Street building.
The East Village move will allow Girls Prep to grow its middle school to include an eighth grade by the 2012-13 school year, serving approximately 300 students at the location between First Avenue and Avenue A.
"We're optimistic to create a model co-location relationship," Rowe added of sharing space with East Side Community High School. "We're really committed to working hard."
Representatives from East Side already lent their support to the move at a public hearing on the proposal, as did District 1's Community Education Council.
Girls Prep parents were thrilled to learn of the approval.
"We're bringing something positive to the table," said Neftali Caraballo, a resident of the Lower East Side's Lillian Wald Houses, who has a daughter in third grade at Girls Prep.
"I'm happy. I just hope our school continues to grow and continues to be an example to other schools in the community."