Workers are breaking ground on construction of a new public school in the mega-development formerly known as Atlantic Yards — but the city still hasn’t made up its mind about who will roam its halls.
Local parents and pols have been pushing for months to stick a new middle school in the Pacific Park space — and want the city to make a commitment now so it can build with tween students in mind. But the education department says it is still considering going with an elementary school.
“No decision has been made yet,” said spokesman Harry Hartfield.
Developer Greenland Forest City Partners this week unveiled broad designs for 616-desk school, alongside the condo building at Dean Street and Sixth Avenue that it will be housed in.
The new tower of learning will span seven stories of the 26-story high-rise — two of which will be underground — and will be connected by a central staircase, according to architect Jonathan Marvel. There will be an outdoor playground on the fourth floor of the building, along with a more grounded play-space on the first floor.
Marvel said he couldn’t give more details — he is also waiting on more instruction from the department.
Education officials originally envisaged the school as a kindergarten though eighth-grade facility. But neighbors rallied together insisting the local school district — which also encompasses Brooklyn Heights, Downtown, Dumbo, Fort Greene, and Clinton Hill — is lacking in dedicated middle-school institutions and that this is the perfect opportunity to make one happen.
They dream of a school that teaches software engineering and robotics, dual-language classes in both French and Spanish, and drama workshops with local theaters — which they hope will stop families moving out of the district so their kids can attend swanky junior highs in other areas.
“People leave the district when their children reach middle school age to be able to send their children to schools in other districts,” said Prospect Heights resident Gib Veconi, a member of civic group the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council.
Hartfield said the department will use feedback at gathered at recent public forums about middle schools in the district to decide what kind of academic institution to build.
Bulldozers razed three townhouses on Dean Street earlier this week in preparation for the project’s construction, which will get underway early next week. The building is slated to open in 2018.