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School’s wall crumbles on Dyker students

School’s wall crumbles on Dyker students
To the window, to the wall: A wall contianing two windows collapsed into a crowded fourth-story classroom at Dyker Heights’ IS 201 on April 20.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

They don’t need no education — no truck-sized chasm in the classroom.

Class ended early for students at IS 201 when a wall collapsed into a packed fourth-floor classroom on April 20.

Parents had nothing but brickbats for the education department, saying the room should have never been occupied under potentially dangerous conditions.

“It should not have happened,” said Maria Mancini, whose son Leonardo was in the classroom when the wall came tumbling down. “I knew something was going to happen. It didn’t look safe — even from the outside.”

The school never alerted parents, instead ushering kids into the gym to show them movies for the rest of the day — which a local activist called an outrage.

“If we learned anything from 9-11 it was to evacuate,” said Penney Santo, a who lives nearby and said the Department of Education has ignored her complaints that contractors worked on the building without proper permits.

The area’s councilman has heard gripes about the construction site, too.

“My office has received numerous complaints about IS 201 over the years, especially since the renovation construction began last year,” said Councilman Vincent Gentile, who is calling on the city to inspect all under-construction schools in the wake of the accident.

A schools spokesman said the department took the right steps in responding to the disaster.

“Officials from DOE immediately went to the school, and they are working to assess the situation and make necessary repairs as quickly as possible,” said department spokesman Jason Fink.

The department said IS 201 would be closed on Tuesday while the building is inspected, with students attending classes at nearby schools, but Community Board 10 district manager Josephine Beckmann said Monday night that the Department of Buildings has inspected the building and issued a full vacate order.

And the damage isn’t limited to of classroom, according to Beckmann.

“As many as 30 classrooms may have been affected,” she said.

IS 201 was built in 1925. The education department last inspected the building in 2013, noting that several areas of the building’s facade and exterior walls needed repair — ranking some sections as a top priority because “a failure is likely to occur soon,” according to inspection records.

Workers have been renovating up the school — including repointing the exterior masonry — since summer 2014, a neighbor said.

No one was injured, according to the fire department.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Who’s at fault?: A worker investigates the collapse. The school has been undergoing renovations since last year. Neighbors have complained about construction noise, vibrations, and un-permited work at the site, according to an area activist and Councilman Vincent Gentile’s office.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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