Updated Tuesday, April 21
A portion of a wall with two large windows caved in on a fourth floor classroom at Dyker Heights Intermediate School, I.S. 201, on Monday, April 20, injuring no one but raising fears that there could be more problems ahead.
According to a parent who complained that an official 911 call wasn’t clocked until 1:13 p.m., the incident occurred around 11:45 a.m.
“Thank goodness it was an extra-long classroom because it could have crushed students,” said a teacher at the school, speaking anonymously.
The teacher said that, since the School Construction Authority (SCA) began work on the building in the fall of last year, I.S. 201 has been home to leaky light fixtures, creaky walls and a lingering moldy smell, and that people at the school have been complaining of headaches.
“Since they started construction, all sorts of things have been happening,” the teacher said. “In the winter, there was snow on the roof and water started dripping in through a light fixture, coming down onto the students.
“It’s not the school, it’s the city,” the teacher went on, stressing that school officials have been waiting “for some time” for SCA representatives to come in and investigate “breathing issues.”
“People are saying ‘It’s fine, it’s fine,’ but obviously it’s not fine if they have walls caving in,” the source said.
The instructor assigned to the classroom that was affected by the cave-in – which the source said was on the 81st Street side of the building — led students to safety, the source said, adding that all classes had been cancelled for the day, with students being held in the school’s gym and auditorium.
According to the Department of Education, officials from the agency were on scene to assess the situation and make necessary repairs as quickly as possible.
The school has been given a vacate order by the Department of Buildings, said Councilmember Vincent Gentile at a Community Board 10 meeting held the evening of the incident, stressing that – on a day-to-day basis until the site is deemed safe – students will be sent, by grade, to other schools in the district.
In wake of the cave-in, Gentile is calling on the Department of Buildings to do an audit of all schools currently under construction, not just in District 20, but all 1,700 public schools across the city.
“First and foremost I must commend the faculty and staff at I.S. 201 for handling this situation today quickly and calmly. In getting all of the children out of harm’s way immediately, they were tremendous,” the local pol said in a statement. “But the problem is, next time we might not be so lucky.”
I.S. 201 is located at 8010 12th Avenue.