Controversy over old school destruction

Residents and some city councilors are criticizing a decision by the Tel Aviv municipality to make room for a new kindergarten in the center of the city by pulling down a historic school building, reports Bulldozers recently tore into the old Dizengoff school, in the street of the same name, arousing the ire of councilors and residents who felt it should have been preserved. According to the report, with too few kindergartens for its growing population, and with many of those that do exist already overcrowded, the city has been searching for suitable sites to convert. In February this year, it approved a permit to tear down the old Dizengoff school, which has been abandoned for the past year, and in its place to build a two-story day-care center and kindergarten. The new building will contain three nursery classes for very young children and four kindergarten classes. The demolition was carried out in recent weeks. But the action has angered many. "This is one of the most historic buildings in the city, especially because of its location in the center of Dizengoff," councilor Meital Lahavi said. "It is a symbol and the decision to destroy it represents a failure on the part of the city." A municipal spokesman responded that the city had decided to create the new day-care center and kindergarten, in cooperation with the Na'amat women's organization, in order to answer the needs of the growing number of young families in Tel Aviv. The spokesman said the new center would be ready for use by the school year beginning September 2010.