Minutes recorded by:
Meredith Hill


May 2 2013


Introduction of members/guests

Presentation of Space concerns/ facility upgrade

Discussion of enrollment (Mr Sanft)

Discussion of Footprint ( Mr Weinbaum)

Discussion of solutions (Mr Taratko)




Robert Sanft, Director of School Enrollment

Tom Taratko, Executive Director of Space Planning

Janet Miller, SLT Chair

Miriam Nightegale, Principal

Eric Weinbaum, Children’s First Network, Director of Student Services


Miriam & Janet introduce background & goals:

Goals –

Space conversation has deep roots; goal of this meeting is to revisit the grounds that

have been traveled with the conversations surrounding space since then (starting

in 2005, w/ initial inception of school) – Revisit now that we’re approaching full

capacity of CSS


Review of History of CSS and Space Concerns (see CSS ppt)


This year – slotted to have a larger 9th grade class this year b/c not much attrition

(most 8th graders are staying)


Today: To look at space allocations – what we have and what we are allocated

(to eventually contextualize in terms of the whole building – what we have in the

building and what is possible)


W/ help of SCA & Office of Space Planning, we have new labs and other projects

Goal to look at the building as a whole and create a timetable of moving forward

with overall footprint for CSS


Review of DOE Footprint for a secondary school

– We fall in 6-12 Secondary School category

– Next year: we have been assigned students 12:1:1 students (self-contained)

need extra room to accommodate these students (need to add)



Unusually programs at CSS: CTE Program & Advanced placement classes

with smaller higher level classes (both come together in one school at CSS):

both engineering lab component and higher level classes coming together.

This means we may need a modified footprint to meet the needs of our

specialized program.

Non-instructional rooms are minimally supplied (many teacher/admin

work spaces are minimally supplied at CSS; the bulk of our space is noted

to classrooms rather than admin space or storage). Need to reconfigure

existent space if not given additional space for this purpose.



DOE footprint for CTE Programs:

– At CSS, MS Engineering sequence (lab already built); PLTW for High School

(requires lab with electrical considerations – currently housed in a classroom

with one electrical outlet)

– Needs additional storage space to accommodate full implementation of these


– Outside the footprint of a typical school model


CSS Projects that we will fall short of instructional and support space in 2013-14

– Projected enrollment of 2013-14 = 670 students (less attrition than expected)

– Chancellor’s special ed reform means we’ll be matched with students not typically

matched with a screened school (special class sizes required for some incoming


– 9th grade = 4 sections + 1 SE section (+1 classroom)

– 6th grade = 3 sections +1 SE section (+1 classroom)


Note (Sanft) – notes that their office does not agree with these projections (it’s

high); notes mid-90s as enrollment # for 9th grade enrollment. Last year, it was

the same – 100-something at this point (Total # of students expected will decrease

to high 90s by start of school year due to students going to other schools, private

school, etc.). Notes that this will be inclusive of Special Education students. Sanft is

confidenct we will have the same number of students as past years.


On CSS end, we have significantly more students who have already accepted – 115

students already accepted


CSS: We need space for a dedicated middle school counselor. We also need to have

the space in order to be able to separate the middle school from the high school

(especially for testing periods).


CSS: Other things needed besides classrooms:

– Need to have extra space for students to be able to eat lunch (cafeteria is not

large enough to accommodate all of the students).

o Don’t need an additional large cafeteria (just need to enlarge the

cafeteria in order for it to be able to hold about an additional 50



With the additional space it may be possible to reduce the

number of lunch periods to 5 periods.

Increased need for changing rooms and bathrooms for students.

o The girls and boys are currently using toilet rooms to change.

o No secure space for storage of valuables.





CSS: Systems Need Updating to support middle and high school needs:

§ Drinking fountains

§ Toilets

§ Fixtures in the classroom

§ Electrical and heating issues for a stem school

o Heating plate incident

§ Lack of PA system creates risk during emergency situations


CSS: Physical Conditions Challenge

§ Most classrooms lack sufficient power outlets

§ Lack of storage space (cubbies and lockers)


CSS: Summary (Critical Systems Upgrades

§ Wheelchair access

§ Completion of Chemistry Lab (with sufficient ventilation)

§ Renovating the library


NYCDOE Enrollment:

Mr. Sanft

§ Enrollment figures claimed to be inaccurate.

o Believe that enrollment for the 9th grade will likely be in the high 90’s

and not an entering class of 115+ students.

o Could scale down the enrolled students in the 6th grade class (to 2

sections) if there is such a large concern regarding the issue of space


o Office of Enrollment can look at Special Education enrollment for best

fit (i.e., CTE classes v. self-contained)

o Does not anticipate 4 sections for the incoming 9th grade class

(instead, same as past years)

o Challenges with 12th grade (can include off-campus lunch sections)

§ “We are looking at what is clearly a tight space and need to figure out how to

accommodate.” – Sanft

§ We are looking at things from enrollment:

o Short term (not offer extra students the class)

o Or, do this all the time: make smaller classes overall for CSS

§ “We’re working together for the school, so we can make this work… I’m

looking forward to your new building coming soon.” –Sanft



Mr. Weinbaum – Children’s First Network Facilities (works hand-in-hand with

Richard and Tom and Enrollment on this issues). Job to help the community

understand how the space is allocated.

§ What Miriam showed (in ppt) was the minimal guidelines for space

allocation (that’s the bottom line, where a school can operate on its lowest).

Most schools (depending on scenarios) have additional space.

§ Especially when you’re dealing with a campus with multiple schools (i.e.

KIPP Star has next door building & shares space in main building)

§ Facilities works with schools to figure out what is shared and how, which

could include shared resources (administrative space, etc.)

§ “One thing I can assure you is, that the office of space planning, from working

with them over the years, when schools are growing, that they are there to

assure that the space is adequate for you to have proper instruction and the

proper administrative space. They do their best to accommodate this, and

they have been here year after year… or at least I think they have.”


Tom Taratko (Executive Director of Office of Space Planning):

§ Has been working with CSS since the start

§ Have commitment to be here every year and work with the principal to work

with the needs of the space

§ At a certain time, the space becomes finite – need to make decisions with

how to allocate space and how enrollment works with space

§ CSS was planned out w/ 81 students, 3 section model – now exceeds that

§ “Just admitting new kids is not going to get the new space you want”

§ Working with Maldonado, priority became working with the immediate


o Science Labs

o Outlets

§ “I was very distraught to hear we don’t have that [the outlets] – that’s

something I will commit to doing”

§ Last year, were able to “scrounge up” the dollars for the lockers

§ Science lab downstairs (“which is beautiful, but I hate to hear that the

ventilation is not working; the SCA can definitely do something about that”)

§ Has spoken to David Levin (Principal of Charter – KIPP) & Principal Higgins

there will be shifts in the space for next year, i.e. Library

§ [On commitment to library]: “This is going to be a new space for Columbia

Secondary School next year and this can come with renovation” … “what we

do now is 21-st century library renovation labs” “Starbucks style seating,

half books, half technology labs, smartboards” …

§ We have a commitment, I want to reinforce this commitment today

§ Rich Vocchicio (dir. In Manhattan)

§ We will come back (I really have to apologize, as I have to cut out at 6, which

is in a couple min, but I am committed ot sitting down to discuss this further


Now: will look at as a whole campus building council – CSS, KIPP, 125; We

don’t work as separate schools, but as one campus

§ At current enrollment, I think we can meet the needs, including excess

enrollment needs

§ We do need to talk about priorities

§ We’re going to be discussing that the elementary school will use the other

building for cafeteria and have this cafeteria

§ Can’t afford the loss of a classroom and won’t

Let me make this promise in front of all of your parents, who love to make petitions

“… we’re going to come back every year, we’re going to sit down and meet with you,

we’ll bring David Levin… we have a commitment to this campus … a couple million

dollar [projects to renovate the] bathrooms, we’ll add those outlets, we’ll look and

try to get creative with storage… we took the science lab away from a custodian that

said it was his workshop! We’re going to look at the whole building, I think you’re

going to be pleasantly surprised. This, however we do it, is going to be great. We

want this to be great”




Just wondering – Why didn’t Taratko know about the outlets and bathrooms?

TT: I didn’t know about the field staff.

Who are the field staff?

The SCA works on this – their field staff

TT: “I’m kind of known as draino. I can get things pushed through the pipes a little


TT: “If the field staff is not responsive, I can work on it”


Why is having a new school seemingly off the table?

TT: “I imagine the space considerations, the taxes…”

Rumor of decisions made is that it was an environmental wasteland…


They were made, remade, rediscussed


6th floor: We need that space – we are such a successful school. We need that space.

TT: “There is- was- at some points some political ties. I won’t say right now it’s on

the table or off the table. We need to do some homework on that. We may need you

folks to write some petitions.”


What is the time frame to look at new classroom spaces?

“Rich is telling me 410 is a classroom, this space (library)… you’re above footprint

now, but you’ll have the footprint llisted here” (even with the special ed students?)

“Even with the special ed students”


List of projects to be confirmed

Outlet upgrades

Library converted to MS/HS media upgrades

The plan for the space is up to the school – if the school wants it.

TT “As of Sept 2013, this will be a CSS space”


When remodeled?

TT “Depending on how extensive… The capital projects (lab, etc.) b/c of

enormous scoope of the work, we expedited, those projgects take 18 mo.

Other projects (smaller capital upgrades) 6mo.

Locker rooms in the pool

Is anyone swimming here? Space we need to work out

Electrical upgrades

TT “We requested an outlet upgrade last time. I was distraught to hear that

that didn’t work out” …

TT “That I can commit to and get done with operational upgrades now.”


Building assessment upgrades – we need to push over the borderline and

make sure it happens

Bigger capital project


Some projects are up for bid now


TT “We can commit to coming back within a week – 10 days – to come back and

meet” – wants to meet with us and make a list of items to discuss. The school can

tell you what the outcome of our smaller meeting is.


Bathroom capacity is small, maintenance is poor – parents report that students

don’t use the bathrooms b/c there is not space


Next time TT comes, he will try to look at the plans for bathroom updates and let us

know what the bathrooms are entailing. It should be larger doors, sinks, etc. This is

a dire need


Miriam confirmed that she has heard that they have a plan to increase the size of the



TT: “I would encourage you to write everything down… if it’s an operational issue or

SCA issue, I can speak to the generality of them all, but if it’s a specific problem, we

can help you with all, and we will give you answers, one by one.”


Miriam thinks the bathrooms will be operational by Sept, but there won’t be new



“You can just send me an email and I’ll get back to you. I’m very accountable to

folks.” – TT


Status of a working PA system through CSS?

TT- knows everyone has needs – asking admin to collect specific needs

“PA’s are definitely do-able, I can do that, we do that in campuses.”


Weinbaum says there’s a chance it’s here just shut off


CSS knows this is not the case.

TT says that we need to work in smaller steps as we build the school


“The reality is that there is not enough dollars or force or planning to keep up with

it.” This portfolio of new schools and covocations, we are not proactive, we are

reactive. We are trying to keep up with it” “I’m not here to make false promises. We

are committed to a long-range plan…” TT


Safety issues – concerns about safety… we cannot compromise the safety of the

children. Asks us to get a list of concerns through the admin.


Taratko, Sanft Leave


Rumor of KIPP leaving, is that true?

– Miriam has heard this too, we don’t know for sure.

– They’re doing construction there, but Miriam’s discussions with their

principal and business manager did not reflect this


Lack of clarity about how all these issues add up to a safety concern. Is it possible to

get them to come back in a passing period to SEE the concern?

– Eric Weinbaum has been here during passing periods. Would they see that as

a safety concern?

– Notes that building capacity shows that this amount of kids can fit in this

size space including passing. We know this was not built as a high school, so

obviously not the same size hallways as would be built for HS students.


Parents note that they hope that the school does not start cutting classes – best

school in neighborhood with this type of education.

– Weinbaum mentions that this is why we should shift focus to looking at

possibilities like the 6th floor computer lab space (petition?), etc.


Parents noted the building of TWO new buildings for schools in between Harlem

and Washington Heights.

– What does it take to compose and put together in order to achieve having a

new building built for CSS?



– Portfolio is the department that makes the decision on the building of new

school buildings. The people present were not the people who make these


– Parent question: Can we work on a proposal for a new building?


Weinbaum: Many spaces built in Manhattan are a collaboration with a builder.

A residential site including stores on the ground space, schools in lower floors,

residential upper (ie. One on 59th St). That’s an avenue if anyone has connections to

big relators that build and who have large amounts of land for those purposes. It’s

not a business partnership… land is limited and Manhattan and many vacant sites

are brownfields w/ buried chemicals dating years back… soil samples show that this

will be a big problem. There have been cases where kids get sick b/c of brownfields

and chemical contamination near building sites.


No one will do it for us, it has to be us. LOTS of groundwork.


Parent question: Can we build UP on this space? Explore air rights?


Miriam: Not sure who has air rights. This building might not be strong enough to

build up.


Parents: Can we figure out if this is a possibility? Can we invest in investigating

possibilities for building on current space.


Weinbaum: Notes Night and Day HS on 2nd Ave in lower Manhattan, which has a

science lab built on the roof; but cites that there can be huge costs to updating space

b/c it affects the entire building.


Miriam: notes that 6th floor has been on the table before (Jose pursued with

network, with superintendent, etc.). Gail’s perspective is that it would create more

of an outrage from community than taking over KIPP would.


Miriam still thinks it’s worth exploring, but should approach delicately. Champions

exist in DOE (used as a conference center) and exists in Superintendent’s office. We

need to try to figure out leverage points to see where our best approach is.


Weinbaum was involved in past decision to move superintendent from what is now



Janet: Mayor and Chancellor have not acknowledged our petitions at all.


What is CU’s position in regards to space?


Original agreement – that CU would provide land, and DOE would provide building.

CU provided land, but DOE said it was unsuitable. CU is willing to help, we are

working on seeing if there are possibilities. CU did give us computers in the library

at CSS for research kiosks… as we continue working with them, we hope to continue

building this developing conversation.


CU is trying to raise an endowment for us, networking us with some of their

fundraisers. They are committed to us, but it is about figuring out ways to help us

build up in the way we need. They don’t want to administer us, but do want to help



Has anyone talked about the superintendent getting new offices in other buildings?


Weinbaum: Each superintendent is placed in a school building. Weinbaum’s

previous charge was to reallocate space to students by moving administrative