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Middle Early College High School eyes ECC as new location

A Buffalo high school, long without a home of its own, could be relocated downtown to the City Campus of SUNY Erie Community College as early as next year.

The Buffalo Public Schools are in talks to bring Middle Early College High School, currently located in space in Bennett High School on Main Street, to 101 Oak St., a couple of blocks from the college’s main downtown building.

The high school since 2003 has partnered with ECC to allow its students to work toward their associate's degree – free of charge to them – while at the same time pursuing their high school diploma.

In fact, Middle Early, which enrolls about 350 students, has been one of the city’s more successful high schools with a four-year graduation rate of at least 80 percent each year.

However, the high school has never found a home at ECC. It started nearby at 290 Main St., across from the Ellicott Square Building, before moving to School 187 on Clinton Street and then to Bennett.

“This is a long time coming,” Superintendent Kriner Cash said of the relocation.

The district is trying to negotiate a lease for 101 Oak, after the state agreed to pick up 95 percent of the estimated $22.9 million cost to lease the 60,000-square-foot building over 15 years.

“I believe being on a college campus will really make our program stronger,” said Principal Susan Doyle.

“We will have enough space to grow our program,” Doyle said. “We have never had the room because we’ve always shared space.”

The Board of Education gave the superintendent the go-ahead to negotiate a lease with ECC in hopes of relocating as soon as next September.

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