After 10 years, Cypress Hills school project underway

Officials broke ground Wednesday on a Brooklyn school that's nearly 10 years in the making.

Schools Chancellor Joel Klein was on hand at the ceremony for the Cypress Hills Community School, which will serve 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The school will be located at 2911 Atlantic Ave., the site of an abandoned factory currently marred by graffiti and broken windows.

Supporters said the school has been a long time coming. Last year, students and teachers rallied outside of their current building. They complained they didn't have regular access to the gym, library or cafeteria. Some students also said they attended class in portable trailers.

The Cypress Hills Community School is the result of a partnership between the City Council Speaker's Initiative for School Construction, the Department of Education, School Construction Authority and local groups.

The City Council provided a $20 million grant in 2001 for the school and the School Construction Authority committed to the balance of $33.8 million.

The school, which will have a parent co-principal, will emphasize multiple languages and will serve as an alternative to traditional public schools.

The Cypress Hills Community School is expected to open in September 2009.

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