Josh RultenbergOct 18, 2017, 11:17 amOct 18, 2017, 5:08 pm

New Hempstead students temporarily relocated to ballpark while school gets upgrade

Officials call for academy’s closure until issues with health and fire code violations are resolved


POMONA — Students from a struggling New Hempstead private school will be heading to Palisades Credit Union Park for class.

Ateres Bais Yaakov Academy has agreed to rent space at the park from the Town of Ramapo for the time being at $2,500 a week. The town would also like the academy to pay insurance and provide a $10,000 down payment to cover any potential damage, but that isn't a done deal.

Palisades Park has over a dozen suites and rooms, which will allow the school's 400 displaced students to continue their education while necessary upgrades are made to the academy’s existing property.

On Monday, Rockland County Executive Ed Day voiced his displeasure with the current setup of the school's property while it undergoes changes.

"Where else could you have a school open with no permanent source of water, no certified electricity and a fake fire hydrant?" Day said.

Recently, Ateres Bais Yaakov was found to have had several health and fire code violations after its makeshift fire hydrant failed a water pressure test. Since early September, ABY has held class in 17 trailer rooms for its 400 students at 200 Summit Rd. while a permanent school building is built.

County Executive Day, along with a group of local politicians, called for the academy's closure until all issues were resolved.

"The problem we have here is that temporary authorization was granted by the village (of New Hempstead) via the Ramapo Town inspectors and unbelievably from the state monitor whose there to make sure things are done properly. It is unacceptable," Day said.

"We're excited to have the girls back in class, back to their learning and we're very grateful to acting Supervisor Yitzy Ullman for having the vision to enable that to happen," says the Dean of ABY Rabbi Aaron Fink.

He says the plan is for the girls to only attend school at the baseball stadium for a day or two because the modifications should be done at the academy by Wednesday.

"We had complied originally and we are complying subsequently, and some of the misstatements put out there by some of our political leaders...I’m happy for them, they have a political agenda but they are very far from the truth," Fink added.

Meanwhile, County Executive Day says while the move to the baseball stadium is a temporary solution, his main focus is to make sure the children are not in harm's way. And Day added the lesson learned here is for schools to do their work, get proper approval and then proceed and not the other way around.

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