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City to Propose New Harlem Charter School in Public Housing

By Ben Fractenberg | May 4, 2010 9:02pm | Updated on May 4, 2010 9:01pm
One of the city's many public housing complexes.
One of the city's many public housing complexes.
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Flickr/Cornerstones of New York

By Ben Fractenberg

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — The city is proposing a new $100 million charter school at the St. Nicholas Houses on West 127th Street in Harlem.

The school, which would be run by the anti-poverty organization Harlem Children's Zone, would serve 1,300 kindergarten through 12th grade students from the St. Nicholas Houses and the surrounding community, according to a report from the Community Board 10 Land Use Committee.

The Bloomberg administration has been pushing for the school as a way to provide funding for the public houses and utilize open space in a densely populated community.

The city would pay for 60 percent of the cost with a private group picking up the remaining 40 percent under the current proposal. The non-profit would then become a tenant in the building, which would be owned by the Department of Education.

But some people in the St. Nicholas Houses think the proposed 123,000-square-foot structure would hurt the community.

"I really don't think it is a good idea. I actually don't think it is enough space from the buildings to the school for the kids to enjoy themselves,” St. Nicholas Houses resident Keisha Wannamaker told NY1. “The tenants are going to lose a lot of open space.”

The proposal will first have to go through a review process, including getting approval by the New York City Housing Authority board.

The city is hoping the school will open by fall of 2011 and plans to formally announce the project on Wednesday.