Private Boarding School Coming to Wayne

The Pioneer Academy of Science will construct nearly 100 dorms and classrooms as well as a gymnasium.

The Planning Board approved the Milky Way Education’s Center application to create a new education campus on the former BAE System Property on Totowa Road.

The Pioneer Academy of Science bills itself as a co-educational “independent, private institution.” Students mostly hail from wealthy families both in the United States and from eastern European countries. The school is based in Clifton. 

The board unanimously approved the application.

“Our focus is to try and educate children and not just the ones who already go to [Pioneer], but everyone in the neighborhood,” said Yucel Ari, a project manager with Lilium Inc. who spoke on behalf of Milky Way at the meeting.

According to its website, the school is also preparing to move to Denville. It is not known if that new location would be a sister campus. Ari said officials would like the Wayne campus to be up and running “as soon as possible,” possibly by September 2013.

Ari said the school is in the process of acquiring the BAE Systems property on Totowa Road.

About 200 students are currently enrolled in the academy. The school would like to gradually increase that number to 600.

Of the projected 600 students, 300 boys would live in nearly 100 dorm rooms located on the second and third floors of the institution. The first floor would be used for classrooms. Some students would be allowed off campus with a chaperone.

The approved plans also permit a gymnasium to be built on the property. Ari said that the building is scheduled to be constructed and open by September 2014.

Students will be picked up from the academy’s current location and bussed to Wayne or dropped at the school by their parents.

The town council prohibiting dormitories being built in town expect in specifically zoned areas.

The legislation would have prohibited the school from making the move.

Township officials argued that Milky Way did not have the proper paperwork submitted before the ordinance was approved. Milky Way sued the township.

A Superior Court judge that the company had all of the proper documents in order when it submitted its application.

We know that what we went through wasn’t right,” Ari said. “We feel that it was a just decision and everyone is on good terms now.”

— Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Daniel Hubbard at Daniel.Hubbard@patch.com or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

stewart resmer July 24, 2012 at 09:11 AM
I thought that the hearing before the planning board was very proffessional and free from political posturing and grandstanding as was the case with the council meeting .For such learned individuals as the individuals on council seem to be, they had to have known that what they were doing when they voted against the schools application. I have yet to hear a single one of them explain to We The People their rationale behind their over turned vote.
eyes wide shut July 24, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Stewart, do you really expect a rational answer from anyone on the board?? Really. Id like to know which Genius or Genius's said they did NOT have the proper paper work?? So because of incompetent people the town gets sued AGAIN...
stewart resmer July 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Well the board, city engineer, planning staff, and atty were all very much what we the people would hope to expect. Outside, members of the group were very nice, approachable, reasonable, quite forgiving of the past looking forward to the future. Mz Ryan had questions about pick up parking, Mr Olivio about native flora, Mayor Vergano about sidewalks. Nothing, and I mean not a hint of, the sort of naked contempt the council showed some months ago. Mr Rubin the groups atty brought some very informative and prepared experts in their respective fields of planning engineering and traffic. The former BEA site sounds as though it was an ideal choice from a design perspective and that BEA had engineered the site well to begin with mitigating any new costs to comply with planning.
Nose Wayne July 25, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Eyes, you used the " I " word !!!


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