A New York City pre-kindergarten center will be housed in a building that also has an outpatient facility that assists ex-convicts and drug addicts, DNAinfo.com reported Thursday.
The pre-kindergarten, which will have 108 seats, will be in the same Manhattan building at Exponents, which treats patients battling drug and alcohol abuse as well as those suffering from HIV or AIDS. The center also helps ex-convicts as they transition to life after prison.
The safety of the students is a priority for the city’s Department of Education, an official told DNAinfo.com, and pre-K students would have an entire floor of the building dedicated solely to their classes, as well as a separate entrance.
“. . . it remains a terrible location for the treatment center.”
“Students at this site will have their own separate entrance and their own separate lobby, open only to them, their families and teachers,” DOE spokesman Harry Hartfield told the news site.
Still, some are not happy with the arrangement.
A member of Community Board 1 says the decision to house the pre-K and treatment center in the same building is a “poor idea.”
“We deeply admire the work the treatment center does,” said Ro Sheffe, chairman of the CB1’s Financial District Committee. “But there are so many other locations in the city that are better suited for them.”
“We’re very happy to welcome more pre-K into the neighborhood, and that location is great for students — there are so many young children and families in the area — but it remains a terrible location for the treatment center,” he said.
One parent, DNAinfo.com reported, said she’d rather not have her son’s school near a treatment center, but said that she hopes the DOE is taking the proper precautions.
Howard Josepher, president of Exponents, in an email to DNAinfo.com, said he understands parents’ concerns, but he is confident there will be no issue with the shared building.
"People come to Exponents because they seek the education and skills necessary for a better life," he wrote. "We have been providing this opportunity for 27 years and take pride in the safety it brings to our community and our neighbors."