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New school on Broadway draws worries

The shoppers were not long gone Thursday evening when a small group of concerned neighbors and business people gathered inside the Broadway Market to talk with Buffalo Public Schools officials about what they plan to do with the famous commercial address across the street -- 998 Broadway.

The plan for what used to be the multistory Sattler's department store, now a vacant Kmart with a huge parking lot, is to turn it into Academy School at 998. It would be a bigger, better home for the nontraditional programs in the district's new alternative school, Academy School at 44.

Activist Samuel A. Herbert, who called the meeting, read an opening statement that pinpointed the main concern.

"The problem we foresee is the Broadway Market becoming the new hangout for a whole new group of people who have no respect for authority," he said. "That is why those 350 students attend Alternative School 44."

Herbert suggested that a better spot for the school would be the Old Central Terminal.

"The [Old Central Terminal] would be perfect," he said. "Plenty of parking, away from the main business strip, and the safety of our residents will not be compromised."

David "Pat" Wright, president of education services for ResulTech of Frederick, Md., which has conceived the city's new alternative school curriculum, explained how, under the Academy School at 998 concept, the building and property would be renovated to reduce the impact on the neighborhood, improve the educational program and be an asset to the community.

He outlined how buses would bring students to the back of the building, how the classroom arrangements would be modular and flexible, and how the front of the building would have community services and meeting spaces that the public could use. Much of the parking lot would become a park area.

e-mail: danderson@buffnews.com

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