Sep 17, 2009 Herm Card Uncategorized
State Senate says “Aye” to education.
New York State Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm A. Smith announced a $1,000,000 grant from New York in support of the Say Yes to Education initiative.
The announcement, made at Blodgett Middle School, had been hinted at earlier in the day at Dr. King Magnet School.
The money has been specifically targeted for the first phase of the renovation of Blodgett to start this fall, pending approval.
“Say Yes to Education is, I believe, one of the best educational opportunity programs in the country, and it has helped breathe new life into important facilities like the Blodgett School. This school and the local community are full of heart–hundreds of people lobbied to save this building when it was at risk of closing,” Smith said. “I am very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the administrators and educators, Say Yes, Syracuse University officials and local leaders to secure this funding. With it, we can launch Phase I of an extensive renovation project that will give our kids the education they need to succeed.”
Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, president of the national Say Yes to Education program, says that “Syracuse is a community that has committed to doing business differently in terms of ensuring the success of their children’s education, and a key part of success is a good learning environment. We are so grateful to Sen. Malcolm Smith for this encouraging contribution. It’s powerful to have the state see this is important. It’s really going to make a huge difference and give momentum to our program. All the pieces that will enable kids to succeed are coming together.”
“We are delighted with this contribution from Senate President Malcolm Smith,” said SCSD Superintendent Dan Lowengard. “Hopefully this funding will accelerate the architectural phase of the Blodgett School renovation. This contribution will not only help revitalize the school but the entire neighborhood as well.”
The renovation of Blodgett School has been lingering for some time, with several issues to be overcome. Not the least of these was the decision as to whether to renovate, demolish and rebuild, or to seemingly look the other way.
The project’s importance had been specifically addressed by Superintendent Lowengard in his “state of the schools” address when he said that “Blodgett has become a symbol of unwillingness to move forward. We need to put this in the hands of the people who build schools and get out of their way.”
“I think this is a very exciting announcement because it allows the possibility of moving forward with the school district plans for renovating the school without placing a burden on taxpayers,” said Marilyn Higgins, president of the Near Westside Initiative Inc. and SU vice president for community engagement and economic development.
Concern over the possibility of Blodgett’s closing prompted some 600 residents, concerned parents and community leaders to mount a campaign to save the school.
This ultimately resulted in the SCDS development of a realistic, phased approach for renovating the facility.
The Blodgett project is the keystone to Syracuse’s massive Near Westside Initiative, (the effort to rebuild the near West Side neighborhood) proving that the “neighborhood school” a seemingly antiquated concept, still plays a vital role in maintaining the spirit, stability and energy of urban neighborhoods.