ASTORIA — The Department of Education is opening a new pre-k program at the former Most Precious Blood building, after the longtime Catholic school was shuttered in June, to the dismay of parents and students.
The city is leasing the building at 32-52 37th St. to open a new pre-k center this fall with 15 full-day classes for 270 students, a DOE spokesman said. The Astoria Post first reported on the plans.
Most Precious Blood School closed this year after more than 50 years in Astoria, with the Diocese of Brooklyn citing dropping enrollment numbers and costly repairs needed at the building and the adjacent church.
A spokeswoman for the Diocese told DNAinfo in January that the school was in need of a whopping $2.55 million in repairs — including a new roof — while the church building required another $3 million in work.
The Diocese was planning to rent out the building after the school's closure in order to help finance the repairs, a spokeswoman said at the time.
DOE spokesman Jason Fink did not say whether the city is doing any repair work at the site, but said the building will be safe for occupancy when it reopens to students this fall.
A spokeswoman for the Diocese declined to comment Wednesday, saying it does not publicly discuss lease agreements.
Parents and students at Most Precious Blood School were heartbroken over the closure, and many viewed the parish's decision as sacrificing the school for the sake of the ailing church. Nearly 3,000 people signed a petition earlier this year asking the Diocese to keep the school open.
Enrollment is currently open for the new pre-k program that will be starting at the building this fall, according to the DOE. Interested families should contact their local DOE Welcome Center.