NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Parents and educators from a school in lower Manhattan are fighting back after it appears they’re getting the boot to make room for luxury stores.
Students at PS 150 TriBeCa Learning Center on Tuesday took a stand to save their school alongside elected officials. They were protesting a notice the school recently received, saying it has to get out at the end of the academic year.
“Kids love it here, we need space to learn, love, and create,” 4th grader Maxine told CBS2. “We need to stop Vornado from trying to take away our school.”
Vornado Realty Trust and Stellar Management are the landlords. The major real estate developers told parents at a meeting last month that they won’t be renewing the school’s lease after decades in the neighborhood. Instead, they plan to build high-end retail outlets and a luxury gym.
“A gym is useless in this neighborhood, we don’t need that,” parent Tom Falls said.
The award winning Blue Ribbon school is currently home to 190 students, and now the Department of Education is scrambling to relocate them. The department says the plan is to move students to the Peck School next year, which is more than a mile away in the South Street Seaport. They say it would be a temporary fix while a new facility is built in lower Manhattan, but that won’t be ready for another four years.
“We don’t want to move once or move twice,” PTA Co-President Anshal Purohit said. “It’s a documented fact that moving schools once is detrimental to a kid’s education.”
So far, school officials say the landlords have not been open to negotiate. Parents say they’ll keep fighting.
“It’s really ridiculous that they’re taking away everything that made this neighborhood so special,” former parent Colette Wong said.
The building’s ownership says they agreed to a three-year lease extension in 2015 in order to give school officials time to plan. Now, they say that time has run out.