Peck Slip principal makes plans for new building

Downtown Express file photo  Maggie Siena, Peck Slip School’s principal, in the school’s temporary Tweed Courthouse home.

Downtown Express file photo
Maggie Siena, Peck Slip School’s principal, in the school’s temporary Tweed Courthouse home.

BY DUSICA SUE MALESEVIC  |  The new Peck Slip School in the Seaport is expected to open to students this September and its principal Maggie Siena is looking forward to having a library and dedicated space for music, art and science.

“It’s always nice to have a room that’s really dedicated for a single purpose,” Siena said in a phone interview this week.

Peck Slip, also known as P.S. 343, has been “incubating” at the Dept. of Education’s Tweed Courthouse headquarters during the construction of the new facility.

Siena said that she has been working with a vendor who will supply the school with new books for the library, which she described as a corner room with lots of sunlight.

The classrooms at Tweed have been “chock block” full of books, she said.

“Our classes have gone to the New York Public Library, which has been fantastic actually and we’ll probably want to consider ways that we can continue doing that,” said Siena. “But we haven’t had a library on site yet so it’ll be exciting to have our own library.”

At the beginning of the school year, Peck Slip parents complained about the noise at Tweed, as the school had to divide some classrooms to accommodate its growth.

Siena said it will be wonderful to have the new spaces.

“But I can say we really loved it here,” she said. “We’ll going to be leaving the nest and it’ll be time to leave the nest. We’ll be excited to have these new facilities. But there be a little bit of wistfulness in leaving kind of where we were born.”

The new school will be at the former post office building on Peck Slip between Pearl and Water Sts. It is still a construction site so Siena has not been able to tour it. She has, however, visited the site and spoken with the construction team about plans.

“We’re starting to wrap our minds around what it’ll be like to be in a much bigger space,” she said.

The new school will go up to third grade its first year and Siena said that they are still waiting to hear the word on pre-K. Peck Slip plans to eventually expand to the the 5th grade.

Siena also will be expanding her staff and it’s “exciting to watch our staff grow and to watch the school community grow.”

“I’ve been in lots of different school buildings — it really is the people more than the space that really makes a school,” said Siena. “I’m sure it’ll be a beautiful space, but we’ve been happy here too, it’s a beautiful space [at Tweed] too.”

Siena said that they are expecting to move into the new building in late August.

“School Construction [Authority] is committed to coming in on schedule and I really believe they will,” she said.

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