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More Seats Announced for New Peck Slip School

By Jill Colvin | December 16, 2011 6:12pm

LOWER MANHATTAN — The city has increased the size of Downtown's much-anticipated Peck Slip School for the second time in as many months, the Department of Education announced Friday.

Peck Slip, which is housed in a Post Office building, will now offer 712 elementary seats — 56 more than had been announced in November — and some 200 more than the 476 that the school had originally expected.

The latest boost comes courtesy of the financially ailing United States Postal Service, which has decided not to use 2,000 feet of space, making way for two additional classrooms, the DOE said.

“We obviously are happy to see the fact that we can continue to expand the capacity of this building,” said a DOE spokesman, adding that the city had not yet decided which grades the new rooms will hold.

The earlier expansion came after the DOE decided it could add two extra floors to the existing post office building at a minimal cost, helping to ease what parents and advocates have long describe as desperate overcrowding at Lower Manhattan schools.

Downtown officials who pushed for the expansion praised the addition.

“I am so happy that now even more children will now have the opportunity to attend a brand new, state of the art school,” said City Councilwoman Margaret Chin in a statement.

“I am determined to keep chipping away at our overcrowding problem in lower Manhattan. Every school seat we can add helps."

State Sen. Daniel Squadron agreed the new seats would help.

“By adding 56 seats today, as well as the 180 added last month, DOE is taking a big step toward responding to the needs of Lower Manhattan's ever-growing community,” he said.

“A bigger Peck Slip school will begin to provide the community with much-needed options as we work toward a schools plan that truly serves our kids.”

The District 2 Community Education Council approved a massive rezoning plan this week that carves out a new zone for Peck Slip, including some of the families currently zoned for the Spruce Street School near City Hall and P.S. 276 in southern Battery Park City.

The school will officially open next fall with kindergarten classes housed at the Tweed Courthouse until the Peck Slip building is complete in 2015.