By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge — Parents of students at Intermediate School 30 got their wish.
The Department of Education (DOE) has agreed to a request by the principal and parents to move the students from their current location, a former apartment building at 415 Ovington Ave., into a new public school, P.S. 331 at 7002 Fourth Ave., when that school opens in 2013.
“We’re thrilled!” said Laurie Windsor, president of the District 20 Community Education Council. “The kids at I.S. 30 really deserve to have the facilities they need and that an intermediate school has.”
I.S. 30, which has a student enrollment of 357, does not have adequate facilities for an intermediate school, according to Windsor and other educational advocates.
“It’s too small. It’s literally an old apartment house,” Windsor said. “The cafeteria is also used as the gym.”
I.S. 30, also known as the Mary Ovington White Intermediate School, accommodates grades 6, 7 and 8 in tight quarters.
“They make due with what they have, but it’s hard,” said Windsor, who pushed the DOE to move the students. “The cafeteria has poles in it. It’s not the best place to have a gym class.”
Education officials agree. Officials said that while I.S. 30 serves students in sixth through eighth grades, the space in P.S. 331 “is more suitable for middle school students” than the space at 415 Ovington Ave.
The rooms in P.S. 331 are larger on average than the rooms at I.S. 30’s current location, officials said. The cafeteria is also larger, according to officials.
Under the DOE’s plan, I.S. 30’s students would move over to the new P.S. 331, a much larger building located diagonally across the street.
The plan also calls for I.S. 30 to be expanded to include the grades kindergarten through fifth grade. The expansion will take place gradually, according to an advisory the DOE issued on April 5. Kindergarten students would be welcomed to the new building starting in 2013.
“The school will then add one grade each year until it reaches full grade scale as a school that serves students in kindergarten through eighth grades in (the school year) 2018-2019,” the advisory reads.
“I think it’s good that it’s being done gradually,” Windsor said.
P.S. 331 is being built at the site of the former Bay Ridge United Methodist Church. The church was nicknamed the “Green Church” by Bay Ridge civic leaders because of its striking serpentine stone facade.
The church was demolished in 2008.
The DOE advisory makes it clear that the agency isn’t finished with the building at 415 Ovington Ave.
The plan also calls for I.S. 30 to be split into two buildings, with students from kindergarten through second grade being housed at 415 Ovington Ave., and youngsters in grades 3 through 8 attending classes at 7002 Fourth Ave.
“This proposal will provide students in District 20 with an additional elementary school option beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, while maintaining I.S. 30 as a middle school option,” the advisory reads.
The school administration and parents submitted a proposal to move the students to P.S. 331 several months ago. Parents raised concerns when the DOE appeared to be dragging its feet on the proposal.
Windsor spoke at a Community Board 10 meeting a few months ago to seek the board’s support for the effort to move the students. The board did not take a position at that time, but agreed to revisit the question at a later time.
The plan still has to win the approval of the DOE’s Office of New Schools.