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Millennium High Parents Lose Hope After 9-Year Fight for Gym

By Julie Shapiro | February 21, 2011 7:42pm | Updated on February 22, 2011 5:58am
Fencing is one of the only sports that can fit in Millennium's multipurpose room.
Fencing is one of the only sports that can fit in Millennium's multipurpose room.
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Millennium High School

By Julie Shapiro

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Millennium High School has all but given up hope of ever getting a gym.

After years of battling for funding and searching for potential spaces, two parent leaders sent a letter to the School Construction Authority last week saying they were finished waiting.

The parents asked the SCA to release the $1 million the agency has earmarked for the gym, so that the school could use the money for other needs.

"It is time for the School Construction Authority to transfer those funds to the Millennium High School budget to be used for other capital improvements instead of it sitting idle in the coffers of your organization," wrote Karen Manville and Tom Moore, co-presidents of the Millennium Parents' Association.

Millennium High School was built in former office space on Broad Street without a gym.
Millennium High School was built in former office space on Broad Street without a gym.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

"If you have no intention of fulfilling your promise to our school (and we see no signs that you will deliver on it any time soon since nine years have passed by) then let the money be used for other purposes that will benefit our students."

A spokesman for the School Construction Authority did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Millennium parents spent years fighting for funding for the gym. The school has just an L-shaped multipurpose room that is not big enough for most team sports, and a small room with exercise machines.

In all, the city and local politicians eventually set aside approximately $2.5 million for the project.

Parents scoured the neighborhood looking for a place to put the gym and suggested more than a dozen potential spaces in 2009 alone.

But the School Construction Authority has not responded to their letters, phone calls and continued pleas for help, parents said.

"Everyone is just so frustrated," said Manville, who has a daughter in the twelfth grade and a son in ninth grade at Millennium, which opened after 9/11 in converted office space at 75 Broad St.

Parents and staff are also worried that in tight budget times, the money promised to their school could disappear if it isn't spent.

"It's never a good thing in a difficult economic time to have lots of money sitting there not doing anything," said Robert Rhodes, Millennium's principal.

Millennium could use the money now to upgrade computers, buy Smart Boards, replace worn physical education equipment and reconfigure its offices, Rhodes said.

Rhodes would still rather put the money toward a gym, but he's not optimistic.

"There's not enough cooperation to make [the gym] happen," Rhodes said. "We want to recoup our losses rather than let the money go down the drain."