A school grows in Harlem.
The city will spend $60 million – and a private group will raise $40 million more – to build a new home for a charter school in the middle of a housing project.The project will let the Harlem Children Zone’s Promise Academy expand to 1,300 students and give admission preference to residents of the St. Nicholas Houses, where it will rise.
The school, which now shares space with Public School 175, now enrolls students from kindergarten through sixth grade and also has grades 9 and 10. The new facility, to open in fall 2011, will eventually be a full K-12 school, officials said, and create 100 permanent new jobs.
“If there has been some thought that charter schools have not served children with the highest needs,” said Harlem Children’s Zone CEO Geoffrey Canada, “we want to put the school where the need is.”
Residents would have access to the building for community meetings, after-school programs and adult courses. The city would own the building. Willie Mae Lewis, the president of the St. Nicholas Houses tenants association, praised the plan. “It’s a very big opportunity for our community,” she said.