In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the city's Panel for Educational Policy voted to approve the phase-out of 19 public schools, five of which are in the Bronx. (One Bronx school, Alfred E. Smith High School, was previously slated for the chopping block but survived to fight another day.)
Many parents, teachers, and students at the condemned schools were left fuming. But not everyone had a bad night. PS 204, a highly-rated elementary school in Morris Heights, received a green light from the Panel to move into a new building (pictured above) at 1740 Macombs Road, where University and West Tremont avenues meet.
This means PS 204 will be saying goodbye - and good riddance - to its current building, an ageing, castle-like structure and one-time synagogue on West 174th Street.
In a telephone interview, the school's principal Marcy Glattstein called the new location a "gorgeous site" which will offer "all the things that the children of this school have not had" – such as a gym and a library.
She said the move, scheduled for the summer, in time for the new school year, was "long overdue."
Back in November, about 200 people from PS 204's school community attended a public meeting on the future on the new building. Glattstein said this strong showing helped sway the Department the Education, who thereafter supported the school's ambitions.
Local politicians also backed the relocation. "I'm so happy that 204 is going to move into this building," said Assemblymember Vanessa Gibson, speaking at a Community Board 5 meeting on Wednesday.
In addition to PS 204, the new building will house a 60-seat District 75 program for special needs students.
It's unclear, at the moment, what will happen to PS 204's current site. We hear that a charter school will move in on a temporary basis, once certain renovations have been made, but the DOE has yet to get back to us with details.