Metro

Manhattan parents furious with decade-long school roof repair

They’re through the roof.

A seemingly endless, multi-million dollar roof repair at a Manhattan school building has somehow dragged on for a decade — and furious parents want to put a lid on the project.

Families at PS 165 on W. 109th Street on the Upper West Side said the School Construction Authority has saddled their 120-year-old building with unsightly scaffolding since 2011 — and that kids who attend the school have never glimpsed the structure without it.

The marred building also hosts Mott Hall II, a junior high school.

Parents told The Post that the roof repair — estimated to ultimately cost up to $17 million — attracts vermin and drug users who use the scaffolding for cover after dark.

Families said that scampering rats are a common sight at the school during pick up and drop off — along with discarded drug paraphernalia.

“The roof construction has been a direct cause of countless quality of life issues on the street,” said steamed dad Rodney Mendez. “This shouldn’t be what our students first impression of what life in a school is like. Sadly, this is their normal.”

Parents are outraged over the scaffolding that has covered PS 165 in Manhattan since 2011.
Parents are outraged over the scaffolding that has covered PS 165 in Manhattan since 2011.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

Mendez noted that the DOE trumpets a commitment to social and emotional welfare for kids — but has burdened students with the blight for years.

“This is an elementary and a middle school, not a random commercial project,” Mendez said, adding that community meetings with the SCA always end with deadline promises that go unmet.

Another PS 165 mom said that the constant delays signal disrespect for the community.

“They just feel like there is no one watching, there is no accountability whatsoever,” she said. “That’s how you get projects that last this long. I’m sure we’re not the only ones.”

Scaffolding at the entrance to PS 165.
Scaffolding at the entrance to PS 165.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

Mendez said that the SCA has blamed delays on everything from wind conditions to incompetent contractors to the unique pitch of the roof.

Veteran teachers simply view the scaffolding as a permanent appendage.

“I don’t even notice anymore,” said one administrator. “It’s become a joke. It’s one thing for the adults, but it’s a shame the kids can’t just have a normal school building.”

SCA spokesperson Kevin Ortiz acknowledged the parents’ concerns and said the agency is aiming to wrap up the project by the summer of 2022.

Parents have claimed the scaffolding attracts pests and drug users.
Parents have claimed the scaffolding attracts pests and drug users.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

“This initial effort uncovered additional structural issues that needed to be addressed,” he said in a statement. “Additional contractors were required for masonry and roof work that included the installation of new structural steel to the building. We understand the impact on the school and are working hard to complete this vital work by summer 2022.”

Ortiz said that the triangular shape of the roof limits the number of workers who can clamber on it simultaneously to two and that COVID-19 has also contributed to delays.

The decade long repair project has cost about $17 million.
The decade-long repair project has cost about $17 million.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post
The School Construction Authority claims the repairs will be finished by the summer of 2022.
The School Construction Authority claims the repairs will be finished by the summer of 2022.
James Messerschmidt for NY Post

He also argued that the rodent problem stems from nearby trash pileups rather than the construction.

A representative from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer’s office confirmed that parents have complained about the project’s duration for years.

A spokesperson said they would attempt to reach out to the SCA once again.


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