Paterson school closing due to safety concerns after ceiling collapse last month

Built in 1899, the Public School No. 3 building in Paterson is over 100 years old and "will need abatement in order to become usable again."

Lanette Espy

Aug 17, 2023, 12:43 PM

Updated 336 days ago

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Weeks before school, a public school in Paterson has been shut down over safety concerns after a ceiling collapsed on July 28.
The Board of Education in Paterson has decided that Public School No. 3 on Main Street will be closed until further notice as the district plans to relocate students and staff for health and safety reasons. Over 300 students in Paterson are being relocated to schools nearby. Parents of Public School No. 3 students received a letter from the district on Aug. 9 informing them about the situation.
Dan Juan, the interim director of communications of Paterson Public Schools, said no one was hurt but that the incident created an unsafe environment.
Built in 1899, the building is over 100 years old and "will need abatement in order to become usable again."
In a presentation at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday night, Neil Mapp, the chief officer of Facilities and Custodial Services, detailed the condition of the building and outlined a plan for relocating the students.
There are 302 students enrolled at the school, serving grades K-8, that will be broken up in cohorts.
  • Grades K to 2 will be relocated to Dale Avenue School located at 21 Dale Ave.
  • Grades 3 to 8 will be relocated to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex located at 851 E. 28th St.
  • Cog Mild will be relocated to School 28 located at 200 Presidential Blvd.
Mapp says there were 55 students that were mistakenly enrolled in the school who will now be sent to their proper neighborhood schools.
“That’s what we’re really focused on right now. Two weeks before school reopens, to make sure that all students and staff are relocated to educationally adequate spaces," Mapp said. “The school's construction is a wood frame construction. And the ceilings are built on wood lath. The plaster ceiling adhere to the wood lath and those plaster structures are now delaminating from the wood lath and falling.”
Regarding the repair plans, Superintendent Laurie Newell said that that everything is on hold and that, “Our biggest focus right now is to really put all of our energy into making sure that we take care of our youngsters.”
Brenda Ramos, the program director at the Paterson Education Fund says, “All expense related to the cost of this issue should be borne by the state of New Jersey.”


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