Frankford group supports local school’s expansion plans

Mas­tery Charter Schools took over op­er­a­tions of Frank­lin Smed­ley School this year, and now the com­pany wants to add a gym, more classrooms and air con­di­tion­ing as it ex­pands the school to make room for about 100 more pu­pils.

The work at the build­ing on the 1700 block of Bridge St. re­quires some zon­ing vari­ances. Mem­bers of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation voted to sup­port the charter school com­pany dur­ing a spe­cial meet­ing last week at Aria Health’s Frank­ford cam­pus.

Like many North­east civic as­so­ci­ations, the Frank­ford group had no meet­ings sched­uled for Ju­ly or Au­gust, but then it slated the spe­cial ses­sion on Ju­ly 27 to con­sider sev­er­al is­sues that had come up, said zon­ing of­ficer Pete Specos.

The Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation re­quires mem­bers to have paid their dues and to have at­ten­ded at least four of the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s last six meet­ings to be eli­gible to vote. On Ju­ly 27, eight mem­bers were eli­gible to vote.

They backed loc­al gro­cer John Mor­ris­on’s ap­plic­a­tion for a zon­ing vari­ance that would al­low him to sell takeout food at 4677 Frank­ford Ave. Specos said the store wouldn’t have a takeout win­dow. Mem­bers also voted not to op­pose a sim­il­ar ap­plic­a­tion for a store at 2056 Bridge St.

They voted to op­pose plans to ex­pand a day-care fa­cil­ity op­er­ated at 5108 Tor­res­dale Ave. They also voted not to sup­port a vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion to per­mit a check-cash­ing busi­ness at 4947 Frank­ford Ave.

Board mem­ber Steve Mc­Clin­tock ab­stained from vot­ing on a vari­ance to per­mit him to sell auto parts at his busi­ness, Tor­res­dale Mo­tors, at 1954 Church St. The oth­er mem­bers voted to sup­port his vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion.

Joseph Fer­guson, Mas­tery’s chief op­er­at­ing of­ficer, said Smed­ley has about 600 pu­pils in kinder­garten through fifth grade. Mas­tery, in part­ner­ship with the school dis­trict, wants to add sixth grade. A two-story gym will be built on the rear of the ex­ist­ing build­ing and four classrooms will be built on top of the gym, Fer­guson said.

A zon­ing vari­ance is needed be­cause the build­ing would be high­er than cur­rent code al­lows.

There will be trail­ers on the prop­erty in the fall to ac­com­mod­ate pu­pils. Specos said an el­ev­at­or and ramps will be in­stalled. Air con­di­tion­ing also will be ad­ded.

Fer­guson said he is hop­ing the work will be com­pleted by spring.

Also at last week’s meet­ing, treas­urer Tim Wis­niewski an­nounced the on­line Frank­ford Gaz­ette had star­ted a print ver­sion and dis­trib­uted cop­ies to mem­bers.

The civic as­so­ci­ation will con­duct an­oth­er spe­cial ses­sion at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 18, in the second-floor meet­ing room of Aria Health’s Frank­ford cam­pus, 4900 Frank­ford Ave. ••

Con­tact John Loftus at 215-354-3110 or at

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