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Millennium High School Hopes to Expand Amid Flood of Applicants

By Julie Shapiro | September 27, 2010 12:30pm
Millennium High School hopes to expand into space at 26 Broadway, the former Standard Oil tower.
Millennium High School hopes to expand into space at 26 Broadway, the former Standard Oil tower.
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Flickr/warsze

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Millennium High School Principal Robert Rhodes hopes to add a second campus to his popular school next fall, to give more students the chance to attend.

Rhodes said he got the idea when Millennium received 4,500 applications for just 150 spots in this year’s freshman class.

"It’s like a crazy lottery now," Rhodes said. "It suggests that supply and demand for seats is misaligned. There is a real need for these seats."

Rhodes is eyeing the former Sports Museum of America space at 26 Broadway for the expansion, and he plans to submit a proposal to the Department of Education this week.

But Rhodes isn’t the only principal interested in the 100,000-square-foot space, which the DOE leased for up to 660 high school seats earlier this year.

Millennium High School accepted only 3 percent of students who applied this year.
Millennium High School accepted only 3 percent of students who applied this year.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

Elaine Gorman, superintendent of Manhattan high schools, said she has received requests from many high schools that want to move in. She said one of those inquiries came from the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, which is already located at 26 Broadway.

Gorman declined to comment on the feasibility of Rhodes’ idea at Community Board 1 meeting last week. But in an email to a member of New Visions for Public Schools, which oversees Millenium High School, she described Rhodes' interest in the property "tricky," according to the e-mail obtained by DNAinfo.

Gorman had explained at the Community Board 1 meeting that the DOE 's most recent priority for building new schools was for those which serve English as a Second Language students and transfer students.

Rhodes said he wants his new school to focus on a general college prep curriculum with a performing arts focus, similar the current Millennium school's focus on visual arts.

Rhodes said the two schools could share resources by allowing students to cross-register for Advanced Placement classes and travel between the campuses. Millennium’s current home at 75 Broad St. is just a three-minute walk from 26 Broadway, “even at a teenager shuffle,” Rhodes said.

Community Board 1’s Youth and Education Committee strongly supported Rhodes’s proposal at a meeting last week.

"We would like to see that space used by Millennium High School, as opposed to going to an out-of-neighborhood school," said Paul Hovitz, co-chairman of the committee.

Millennium offers a preference to students who live below Houston Street, because CB1 raised $14 million to build the school after 9/11. It is unclear whether that preference would continue at a second Millennium campus.

In addition to the Urban Assembly school, 26 Broadway also houses the Lower Manhattan Community Middle School, formerly Greenwich Village Middle School, which just opened this fall.