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Exclusive: New 7-acre educational campus coming to Floyd Bennett Field

Exclusive look at plans for Floyd Bennett Field educational campus
Exclusive look at plans for Floyd Bennett Field educational campus 02:46

NEW YORK -  South Brooklyn's Floyd Bennett Field has been in the headlines lately as the site of a new controversial migrant shelter, but many people don't know that this lease between the City of New York and National Park Service also requires a list of necessary improvements to the area. 

One of them includes the development of a massive new 7-acre educational campus housed in a National Recreation area.

"When you think about this amount of open space in New York City, it's a once-in-a-generation opportunity to try to develop something that can benefit New Yorkers," explains Geoffrey Roehm, Director of Launch Expeditionary Learning Charter School, a junior high located in Crown Heights with its eyes set on expansion. 

Launch's brand-new high school will be located in the underutilized national recreation area. Roehm also oversees Runway Green Education Collective, a nonprofit responsible for developing this vision. 

"All people learn best by having experiences, and powerful experiences can shape who we want to be in the world," he says of the learning model. 

The new school is only one part of the $65 million project which partners with six local nonprofits. Dr. Melony Samuels runs The Campaign Against Hunger, one of the participating organizations which will operate a 3.5-acre farm on-site.

"We'll be growing enough food to meet the needs of the children's household, by working with their parents, using them as volunteers, but also getting healthy food on their table," Dr. Samuels says.

An old, abandoned building on the current site will be completely revitalized and turned into the high school that will serve several hundred kids. But leaders say it's the wider educational campus that will house these nonprofits and will be able to impact around 50,000 public school students. 

The focus will be on tech, sustainability and environmental education. Adriana Cameron, 12, will be part of the first 9th grade class to enter the high school in just over two years. 

"We will be doing a lot of hands-on learning with the environment. We will be going to Jamaica Bay, working with Billion Oyster Project to help revive the population of oysters," she tells CBS New York's Hannah Kliger. 

So will 7th grader Leslie Hidalgo Tufino, who has her eyes set on a career in veterinary science.

"It is helpful for, like, hands-on learning. For example, I know that in some schools, like all they do is just sit in a textbook," she says.

Facilities will include a greenhouse, rooftop solar panel workshops, science labs, marine biology hubs, an amphitheater and an outdoor climbing ropes course. 

The school and some facilities will be open by 2026, the rest of the campus by 2028.

Have a story idea or tip in Brooklyn? Email Hannah by CLICKING HERE.

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