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Residents Push to Convert Police Academy to Public School

 The Police Academy at 235 E. 20th St. is moving to Queens next year.
The Police Academy at 235 E. 20th St. is moving to Queens next year.
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DNAinfo/Heather Holland

GRAMERCY — The NYPD's soon-to-be-vacated Police Academy in Gramercy should be converted to a much-needed public school for the neighborhood, Community Board 6 members say.

The city plans to move the Police Academy to a new 30-acre campus in College Point, Queens, by the end of next year, raising the question of what will happen to the academy's current space at 235 E. 20th St.

“We’re strongly encouraging the city to turn it into a [public] school,” said Sandro Sherrod, chairman of CB6. “Rather than turning it into another high-rise for luxury apartments…it would be great to keep it as city property.”

Sherrod envisions the eight-story building — which handles the bulk of NYPD recruiting and training activities in the city — as a K-12 school. The building already contains classrooms, a gym, locker rooms, an assembly area, a library, a lecture room and offices, according to a city environmental impact statement.

“We’re trying to have that site repurposed since it’s already structured to be a school with classrooms and a gym,” Sherrod said.

CB6 passed a resolution in 2008 advocating for the academy to be turned into a public school and is taking up the issue again now that the NYPD is set to leave the building, Sherrod said. 

“The community wants to pass a second resolution that empowers members to have an active discussion with the School Construction Authority and the [Department of Education] so they can review what might be possible in the upcoming budget cycle," he said.

A 2008 report by an urban planning fellow for CB6 predicted a shortage of school seats in the neighborhood in light of the 2,000 new apartments that were slated to be built there, Sherrod said.

"We have a lot of new apartments and more kids are coming in than previously planned,” Sherrod said. “We want to see if [a new school] is a viable solution for the community.”

The Department of Education and the NYPD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The NYPD's new 2.4 million-square-foot police academy in Queens will feature an indoor firearms facility, an indoor track and a police museum. The new campus, at 26-02 Ulmer St., will replace the current Gramercy building, which is too small, according to city documents and a New York Times report. It is scheduled to open by the end of 2014.

CB6 is scheduled to discuss the Police Academy site at a meeting Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at 550 First Ave.