After years of hosting students in makeshift classrooms out of trailers in the school’s parking lot, Medgar Evers College Preparatory School in Crown Heights will finally add a new five-story, state-of-the-art building — ending rampant overcrowding, and providing “world class” resources for Brooklyn’s young scholars.
“I am absolutely confident that it will have a profound and significant impact on students’ performance in all areas,” said the school’s principal, Dr. Michael Wilshire, at a Monday press conference.
In addition to the new classrooms, the new building — which will be completed in time for the 2025 school year — will feature four science labs, a gymnasium, and spacious auditorium.
“This new space is going to include all the amenities that one would expect in a world class learning environment,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “This interagency partnership that we are celebrating today will have a huge impact and magnitude that we cannot even start to imagine for generations of students that will be educated here.”
The announcement comes after years of advocacy by parents and local elected officials, who blasted the overly-congested conditions in the Carroll Street school — including at an October 2017 town hall meeting with Hizzoner in Park Slope, when dozens of students and parents voiced their concerns about the state of the school.
Now, the Department of Education and the City University of New York, which runs Medgar Evers College, have provided a $110 million investment to build the new facility to alleviate the deterioration.
“When we say that the facilities in each community should be just as beautiful, just as modern, just as conducive to the greatness of our children, that’s what Medgar Evers would have done too,” de Blasio said, referring to the mid 20th century civil rights leader the school is named for.
Medgar Evers is a Title 1 school with a majority-minority student body that emphasizes Advanced Placement courses, and has a graduation rate of over 97 percent.
Amid a national reckoning over racial inequality, local elected officials underscored the importance of investing in Black communities.
“The Black Lives Matter movement is so powerful because what it showed in so many ways is the inequality that so many people were facing,” said Crown Heights Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo. “It wasn’t just about the fact that we wanted police accountability, or that we didn’t want to be choked to death, it was also about fairness and fair representation and investment in our community, as well as the education of the minds of our young people.”
The announcement comes just over a month after city transit officials renamed two Crown Heights subway stations after Medgar Evers and his namesake college.
“Medgar Evers deserves to be in that pantheon of the great American heroes who gave their all to change us, to make us better,” said de Blasio. “And so when we name something after him, it takes on a very, very special meaning.”