For the past several months, a coalition of residents opposed to the project has been engaged in ongoing discussions with the school, which plans to add more space for dining, a student lounge, a new playground, and several new classrooms.
Residents first saw the plans from the school’s architects in July. Soon after, Marty Newburgh presented the coalition’s concerns at the Community Board 6 general meeting in September.
At the time, the school had declined invitations by both residents and the community board to address these concerns in a series of public meetings, claiming that the expansion was an “as-of-right” project. But because of its location in the heart of the Park Slope Landmark District, the plans must first be cleared with the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Since the September meeting, Newburgh said, elected officials have helped parlay talks between the residents and the school. He would not comment on the details of the discussions.
According to the resident group opposed to the project, the school’s plans call for the demolition of a building from the 1970’s to create a new structure with a playground on the roof. The roof playground would be built at the level of many bedroom and bathroom windows of the adjacent brownstones.
Residents are not only concerned about their privacy, but also the noise and commotion the playground would add to the neighborhood.
The coalition is also concerned about the destruction of an 1880’s retaining wall they say would cut into and destroy as much as half of each of the adjacent brownstones’ 30-foot gardens, many of which are 20 to 50 years old.
Discussions will continue as the school and residents try to reach an agreement on an expansion plan that would best fit the neighborhood.
“We’re a part of the neighborhood and we pride ourselves on being good neighbors,” said Jodie Corngold, director of communications for the school. “We’ve been working very hard to accommodate their requests without losing sight of our own programmatic needs.”