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BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School

January 7, 2010

University Heights Secondary School

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS SECONDARY SCHOOL, LOCATED ON THE BRONX COMMUNITY COLLEGE CAMPUS, WILL HAVE TO RELOCATE AS BCC NEEDS EXTRA CLASSROOM SPACE (PHOTO: R. Thomas)

By REBECCA THOMAS

Improvements to University Heights Secondary School, including new grips on the stairs and working water fountains, spelled bad news for students as they returned to school after the holiday break on Jan. 4.

The renovations were made as part of Bronx Community College’s expansion plan that will leave this high school homeless when the building is incorporated back into the college in the near future.

University Heights Secondary School has been housed in a BCC building on the University Avenue campus since 1987. The Department of Education leases the building from the college. Now the college needs it back to accommodate its own students.  

In December, BCC informed the school that it was terminating the agreement with the Department of Education through which the school uses the building. The school will not be moved before the end of this school year, but it is unclear where it will go.

BCC has seen a 46 percent increase in full-time enrollment over the past eight years. To deal with this influx, it needs the extra classrooms used by the school, according to Bryant Mason, a spokesperson for the college.

The building is on the BCC’s green and spacious campus on the hill of University Heights.  It is both safe and easy to reach by public transportation. This and its beauty have made it the ideal location for this small school of 446 students that has flourished over the past few years.

“Coming here is not like any regular school. Once you walk into campus, it feels like a different atmosphere. There are no metal detectors; there are trees. It’s like coming to a second home,” says Paola Pimentel, a senior at the school.

Teachers and students fear that uprooting the school from this location will destroy it.

“The most important part of the school is its site,” says Pablo Muriel, a teacher at the school. “We have our own culture and space. It is implanted in the building itself. A lot of these kids will be the first in their family to go to college, or to graduate high school. They see older people going to college and it gives them a sense of belonging and success.”

The school was awarded an A in the 2009 Department of Education progress report based on indicators such as student performance, graduation rate and school environment. Its score placed it in the top 13 percent of high schools citywide.

“When you are on this campus, it is like: ‘I am going to make it [to college] some day. I am going to go to college soon’,” Randall Varona, an 11th grade student, said.

Students use BCC’s resources and can take classes including psychology, political science and robotics there for college credit. They also use its gym, library and other facilities.

The close-knit community of the school has created a strong school spirit in both students and teachers. Alumni and teachers will gather at the school [as the Monitor goes to press] on Thursday, Jan. 7, to brainstorm solutions for staying in the building.

The school will be relocated in one of the buildings the DOE owns in the area, a DOE spokesperson said.

But space is at a premium.

“Right now we don’t have any other high school in the area,” said Ted Garcia, the chair of Community Board 5’s Education Committee. “I don’t know where they are going to move to because the other schools are already full.”

Comments

9 Responses to “BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School”

  1. BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School : Mount Hope Monitor | Drakz university Online Service on January 10th, 2010 4:06 pm

    [...] reading here: BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School : Mount Hope Monitor Share and [...]

  2. Rise & Shine: Regents set to grant seven new charters tomorrow | GothamSchools on January 11th, 2010 6:50 am

    [...] Bronx Community College has asked a school located on its campus to leave. (Mount Hope Monitor) [...]

  3. Irma Toapanta on January 11th, 2010 9:08 am

    Is Bronx Community College really thinking of expelling this school which has such a good reputation? What about reimbursement for all the expenses of building a
    brand new library, auditorum and science lab. Is the Department of Education really
    leaving all this to BCC? I can’t believe after so many years on a college campus the
    high school would come to this. BCC has completed disregarded the education of
    their future attendees – most students graduating from UHHS go directly to BCC for
    admissions. This is a total disregard for the education, safety and well being of
    the high school students.

  4. Larissa Reyes on January 12th, 2010 8:32 pm

    BCC is indeed disregarding our education and well-being. As a senior at University Heights High School, I am offended and abashed by this news. Even though I am graduating this year, I fear for my peers which have still 2,3, and even 4 years to go. I want them to have the same safe, enriching, and nurturing environment I was provided. I don’t think that will be possible if our school is relocated. So please, all who can, support us in our struggle to remain intact. Help us against this money-hungry industry called BCC. The future of my peers is at stake.

  5. Alena Garcia on January 13th, 2010 10:30 pm

    I have been in utter panic upon hearing the news that BCC would sever their ties with UHHS…I am a single parent of a freshman and junior at the college. My son is a freshman at UHHS. I chose this school for him because I truly believe in everything that BCC stood for and the fact that the college atmosphere would be encouraging for my son. Also, his sister has been attending UHHS for three years. I never had to worry about my daughter on the campus, I was familiar with the campus because I was attending BCC since Fall 2006 til my graduation in May 2009. I graduated with an A.A.S in Human Services. I am actually appalled that they would evict my children. I was an ambassador at the college and also part of the Phi Theta Kappa society. I took advantage of all the college had to offer. I traveled with them to Maryland, Washington D.C, and Texas. I representd my college with dignity, pride and gratefulness and now I don’t have a clue of how I can represent my children in their plight to save their school. My daughter was looking forward to graduating at UHHS and then going on to college. Now she is worrying whether she’ll graduate, whether she’ll be safe and whether her dream to go straight to college fresh out of UHHS will become reality…It’s sad she should be thinking about her prom dress and not fearing where she will end up next…..I am ;-(

  6. Parents, Local Politicians Critisize Plans to Move University Heights Secondary School : Mount Hope Monitor on January 17th, 2010 2:49 pm

    [...] Related article:  BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School [...]

  7. Narrative NYC » Blog Archive » BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School on January 31st, 2010 4:26 pm

    [...] THIS STORY APPEARED ON JANUARY 7, 2010. TO READ MORE, CLICK HERE. [...]

  8. Local High School Could Move to the South Bronx : Mount Hope Monitor on February 8th, 2010 9:07 pm

    [...] Related articles: Opinion: BCC Must Rethink Decision to Evict High School School Community and Local Politicians Criticize Plans to Relocate High School BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School [...]

  9. City Approves Local High School’s Move to the South Bronx; Students Slam the Decision, Vow to Fight On : Mount Hope Monitor on April 6th, 2010 11:31 am

    [...] Protests Continue Over H.S.’s Relocation; School’s Fate May Be Decided at March Meeting Local High School Could Move to the South Bronx Opinion: BCC Must Rethink Decision to Evict High School School Community and Local Politicians Criticize Plans to Relocate High School BCC to Expel University Heights Secondary School [...]

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