Upper East Side Patch 180-Seat Pre-K Center Coming To Upper East Side, Officials Say by Brendan Krisel
UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — The Upper East Side is set to receive an influx of pre-K seats for the 2019 school year, city officials confirmed with Patch.
A brand-new, 180-seat universal pre-K center will open on East 76th Street between First and Second avenues in September 2019, a spokesman for the city Department of Education told Patch. The pre-K center will be built in 355 E. 76th St., which is currently home to a Hertz garage.
The space will be leased to the School Construction Authority, which will fully renovate the building, a DOE spokesman said. Specifics on the design and construction process are not yet finalized, and it's unclear how much of the building will house the pre-K facility, the spokesman told Patch.
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The new 180-seat center is a product of efforts made by Upper East Side officials to put pressure on the city to expand universal pre-K to the neighborhood, City Councilman Ben Kallos said. After two years of pre-K growth on the Upper East Side the number of seats dropped in 2017, which spurred Kallos to call on the aid of the city comptroller, public advocate, borough president and other neighborhood elected representatives to demand more seats from City Hall and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.
During this year's final budget meeting the School Construction Authority announced that the East 76th Street center and another center would be built to add pre-K seats to the neighborhood, Kallos told Patch. Officials will hold a groundbreaking event for the East 76th Street center later this year, Kallos said.
Kallos told Patch that he hopes the new 180-seat center gives hope to neighborhood parents who fear being assigned to a pre-K center in the Financial District because there aren't enough seats on the Upper East Side.
"Nobody wants to be one of those parents," Kallos told Patch. "And these 180 seats show folks that all their work is paying off and we;re getting the seats we need."
The councilman told Patch that if any Upper East Siders know of locations in the neighborhood that can accommodate pre-K, like the East 76th Street garage, they should contact his office or the Department of Education.