BATTERY PARK, Manhattan (PIX11) -- With enrollment for universal pre-K underway, a new problem is emerging and that's finding the space for all the students. While the Department of Education said all real estate is properly vetted, some are questioning the location of one program, set to start in September because it is in the same building as Exponents, drug rehabilitation center.
The Exponents entrance is located at 2 Washington Street, along with Nyack College, traffic court and countless other offices. The pre-K entrance is around the corner, technically in the same building.
Howard Josepher, President and Co-Founder of Exponents, said he understands the concern but believes his facility poses no danger. PIX11 was allowed in for closer look and much of Exponents offices act and operate very much like a school and counseling center. There are no methadone clinics, like some have assumed.
"There's no medication distributed here whatsoever. What we do is provide education and classes for those who want a better life," explained Josepher.
The DOE, in the meantime, said the safety of students is certainly a priority, but they don't believe that's an issue in this circumstance. Students, we are told, will come in through a separate lobby, they will be taught on their own floor and only have interaction with DOE staff.
In a statement the Department of Education says, “As we expand access to free high-quality full-day pre-K to every 4-year old in New York City, the safety of our students is always our paramount concern. Students at this site will have their own separate entrance, their own separate lobby and their own separate stair case accessible only to them, their families and teachers. The building also has private security. The NYPD and School Safety Agents will visit the site to further ensure its safety before any student steps foot in the building.”