Playground Site For Lab Irks Nabe By MICHAEL O. ALLEN, Daily News Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 2, 2001

A plan to build a high school science lab on an elementary school playground in Midwood is drawing fire from some parents.

The Board of Education wants to build the laboratory for Midwood High School students on a portion of the playground used by elementary school students.

“We are outraged, very angry,” said Alice Tillman-Dames, president of the Joint Parents Association at Public Schools 152 and 315, housed in the same building at 2310 Glenwood Road.

“The information came out in dribs and drabs. Nobody told us anything. We were never given a choice whether we want it or not. It’s a done deal.”

Midwood High is across Bedford Ave. from the yard.

But Margie Feinberg, a board spokeswoman, said plans for the $35 million to $40 million facility are only in the design phase, and will cover just a portion of the playground — 18,000 square feet of the 52,000 total.

“When the labs are built, there would still be 34,000 square feet left for a playground. It would be open space for the school as well as for the community.

“It is important to note that because the [state Board of] Regents are requiring a lab component in their exams, we need to provide science labs for students so that they can take the Regents exam and graduate,” Feinberg said.

Tillman-Dames said that answer is misleading because an annex to the elementary school and temporary transportable kindergarten classes take up portions of the yard.

“Pretty soon the children will have only the sidewalk to play on, and they will call that the playground,” she said.

This Saturday, parents plan to hold a community sit-in at the yard from 9:30 a.m. until noon.

Expected to attend is Councilman Lloyd Henry (D-Midwood), who got the Council to allocate $1.15 million to construct a playground with a reading garden as well as basketball, tennis and handball courts, water fountains and a play area for toddlers.

The plan was that the elementary schools would have use of them during the school day and the community at other times.

Community Board 14 Chairman Alvin Berk described the neighborhood as chock-full of competing needs, all of them legitimate.

“And that’s the problem,” he said. “The problem is, very simply, there’s a tremendous, tremendous lack of open space in Community District 14.”

Original Publication Date: 5/2/01