Village middle school will move to Financial District

By Julie Shapiro

Greenwich Village Middle School will move to the Financial District this fall, after the city Panel for Education Policy approved the relocation last month.

The PEP’s unanimous vote on Jan. 26 was widely expected, since the city’s Department of Education announced the school’s move to 26 Broadway, an office building near Bowling Green, as all but definite last summer.

Greenwich Village Middle School now shares an overcrowded building on Hudson St. with P.S. 3, and the move will give both schools some breathing room. At 26 Broadway, G.V.M.S. will gain a library and a computer lab and will also have enough space to expand from 215 students this school year to 240 next school year. The school could expand further in the future, up to 361 students.

Village parents initially objected to moving the middle school out of their neighborhood, but few people showed up to the public hearings last fall to protest. Assemblymember Deborah Glick also opposed the move because she wanted the city to buy the state-owned building at 75 Morton St. and convert it to a middle school for the Village instead. But negotiations over 75 Morton St. stalled, and 26 Broadway soon became the only option left on the table for G.V.M.S.

D.O.E. is currently leasing four floors at 26 Broadway: two for Greenwich Village Middle School (which will presumably change its name) and two for the Urban Assembly School of Business for Young Women, a high school that moved into the location last fall. The old Standard Oil tower has no gym, but G.V.M.S. will have a dance studio and a multipurpose fitness space.

Parents at a meeting of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s School Overcrowding Task Force last Thursday were upset to hear that the middle school’s new space would not have a gym.

“If we’re building middle schools, they should be complete schools,” said Liat Silberman, former P.T.A. president of P.S. 234, at Greenwich and Chambers Sts.

Elizabeth Rose, director of portfolio planning for D.O.E., said that all new school buildings are required to have gyms, but schools converted from office space are allowed to have smaller multipurpose rooms instead.

The parents at Thursday’s meeting also argued that Lower Manhattan and other neighborhoods in Community School District 2 need more middle school seats. Rose said D.O.E.’s numbers show excess middle school seats in District 2, but she said she would do her own analysis and report back.