EAST IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WROC) — The University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men, also known as UPrep, is seeking to expand after more than 13 years in the City of Rochester.
Officials said the school has grown over the years; and is now outgrowing their current location on Lake Avenue.
A conceptual expansion outlines a move to a vacant facility at 3000 East Ridge Road, in East Irondequoit.
CEO Walter Larkin Jr. said now is the time for a bigger space, with 450 students currently attending, and more on the way.
“We boast, 96 to 98% percent graduation rate, really good athletic and extracurricular activities,” said Larkin.
John Nichols with Nichols Construction is working with school administration on the proposal. He said they’d add a few features: including a gym, a practice field for athletic activities and a running track.
“We’ve been through the building, it can be repurposed very easily, turned into classrooms, there are natural areas for technical, construction and culinary areas,” said Nichols.
The topic is also gaining heavy interest among residents.
A petition going around called, “Irondequoit Residents Against School Relocation” has over a thousand signatures. The petition organizer says this move would, “decrease home values and property tax assessments, and dramatically increase traffic.”
Robert Day lives near the proposed site, and has been waiting for the facility take on a new life.
But he worries a school, might not be a good fit.
“I see what its like at dismissal for the high school, just to put another large school so close, i just makes me wonder,” said Day. “Seems like a lot to put in there surrounded by all the residents,” he said.
Town officials left the school’s leadership team Monday evening with the following areas of concern: What would parking look like, which trees are being removed, and are there auditory concerns.
Another meeting is set for January 30 to discuss the sketch phase a little further.
After that, the school must submit a preliminary site plan application.
School officials say a formal application must be complete by March 21.
Statement from UPrep Charter School
“University Preparatory Charter School has been educating young men, grades 7-12 since 2010, preparing them for college and prosperous careers. Their success is a testament to our mission to establish a culture that celebrates diversity where all boys thrive and are welcome.
UPREP has experienced remarkable growth over the past 13 years. As a result, we have outgrown our current location on Lake Avenue in Rochester and are exploring other sites throughout the greater Rochester area, including the property at 3000 East Ridge Road in Irondequoit. We are working in good faith with the Town of Irondequoit to determine whether the location is a good fit for our school.
During a recent Irondequoit school board meeting, UPREP leaders shared our plans for expansion and committed to open dialogue with the Town of Irondequoit as well as local residents who would like to learn more about our school. We are aware of the online petition expressing concern about the potential for our school to relocate to 3000 East Ridge Road and are meeting with a few of those concerned residents next week at their request to share more about our school and expansion plans.
The success of our young men means prosperity for the entire community. We appreciate the community support we have already received and look forward to continuing to explore the possibilities for this and other locations that we may identify moving forward.”