Ensuring a Safe Environment for 420 East 12th Street Students

Thomas K. Duane

October 19, 2012

On September 24, my office learned that significant structural damage to the eastern wall of the public school building at 420 East 12 Street led to the evacuation of its co-located schools:  East Side Community High School (ESCHS) and Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School. 

Since that time I have been working with my colleagues in government, the New York City Department of Education (DOE), the School Construction Authority (SCA), parents and other school stakeholders to secure appropriate temporary relocation of the schools and ensure that essential repair work on the building’s eastern wall is completed in an expeditious and safe manner. 

As you may know, students from Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School have been relocated to the PS 158 building at 1458 York Avenue (between East 77th and 78th Streets), students from ESCHS in grades 6 through 8 have been relocated to the PS 1 building at 8 Henry Street (at Catherine Street), and students in grades 9 through 12 have been relocated to Norman Thomas High School at 111 East 33 Street (at Park Avenue).  I strongly support the efforts of ESCHS principal Mark Federman and other members of the school community to bring the middle and high schools together in one building, as close as possible to the Lower East Side, until 420 East 12 Street is once again habitable.  I recognize the challenge DOE and SCA face in securing such a space, however, they must make this a high priority. 

On October 16, DOE and SCA announced a preliminary timetable in which 420 East 12 Street would be structurally sound for the students to return in February 2013, even as other repairs to the building would continue.  I will continue to closely monitor DOE’s and SCA’s efforts and work with all stakeholders to get the affected school communities safely back in their home as soon as possible.