A Bay Ridge educator wants to build a floating science lab in the shadow of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge — but the city says his dream is dead in the water.
For more than 20 years, Thomas Greene has been fighting to create an aquatic learning center beside a decaying dock called the Denyse Wharf, which juts out from a sandy outcrop near the Fort Hamilton Army base.
The former Fort Hamilton HS science teacher envisions a refurbished pier, and then docking beside it a decommissioned barge retrofitted into a classroom and lab complex for student field trips.
“Every student from the first to 12th grade is required to do some hands-on lab work — but in many schools, labs don’t even exist,” said Greene, who is also an adjunct professor at Kingsborough Community College.
“This could be the kind of place where kids can get excited about science again,” he said.
Last month, Greene’s proposal floated past Community Board 10 — which advanced the idea from the 18th item on its annual budget wish list to the fifth.
Even local education officials are onboard.
“It’s a wonderful idea — if this lab could offer something special in terms of sciences to the community, it would be a gold mine,” said Laurie Windsor, president of the District 20 Community Education Council.
But the city isn’t convinced.
“We have considered it; the location is not viable,” said Department of Education spokeswoman Marge Feinberg.
“It’s just not an appropriate space — it’s not a space that we can consider,” she added.
But Greene isn’t ready to abandon ship.
“We rank at the bottom of the list of industrialized nations in science and math for a number of years, and we’ve got to do something,” said Greene. “We’ve got to look at the school system itself and start building if we want to move forward.”
©2008 Community News Group
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