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New school buildings

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Hello, new schools!

This week, several brand-new school buildings are opening their doors in Brooklyn as the public school year kicks off.

With the addition of these buildings, students will be learning in state-of-the-art classrooms and have access to important facilities like science labs.

In many cases, the extra buildings intend to ease overcrowding at existing public schools.

Such is the case with the Sunset Park High School, 153 35th Street, which is the neighborhood’s first high school. Traditionally Sunset Park’s teens traveled to schools in Bay Ridge, such as Fort Hamilton High School at 8301 Shore Road, which has struggled with overcrowding.

“It is definitely going to make a dent,” said Laurie Windsor, president of the Community Education Council (CEC) in School District 20, which spans Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton, Borough Park and part of Bensonhurst.

However, it may take time to ease the overcrowding.

“I don’t think we’re going to see a huge dent in the overcrowdi­ng,” Windsor said. “The effect of it is not going to show immediately. It’s going to take a few years.”

District 20 is also receiving additions for New Utrecht High School, 1601 80th Street, and P.S. 229, 1400 Benson Avenue.

At P.S. 229, “they haven’t had pre-k in many years because there was no room,” Windsor said. “They’ll be a K-8 school. We’re really excited.”

Some of the new buildings have inspired outrage from the community.

In the case of the new building at the site of the former Magen David Yeshiva at Avenue P and Stillwell Avenue, two small schools are opening this week. One is the Academy of Talented Scholars, a K-5 school, and the other is the Brooklyn School of Inquiry, a gifted and talented school accepting students from all five boroughs.

Windsor believes the building should have housed schools catering solely to District 20 %u2013 not the entire city.

“That’s 576 seats and I want those seats back,” she said.

In District 18, which includes Canarsie and East Flatbush, the new building at 965 East 107th Street will hold a middle school and a transfer high school for students who struggled in traditional classroom settings.

Neighborhood residents and the local CEC oppose the transfer school’s placement in the new building, which was initially advertised as an elementary and middle school.

“On one hand, it’s a good concept to reach out and help students by giving them a second chance for education and careers, but the placement in that building is the issue that’s causing community concern. You’re probably still going to have protests about it,” said James Dandridge of District 18’s CEC.

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