The Department of Education expects construction on a new wing at PS 176 to begin within 30 to 60 days, with the intention to be open in time for the start of school in September 2016.
Fourth- and fifth-graders at the Cambria Heights school have been attending class at IS 59 in Springfield Gardens, nearly two miles away, since September 2013.
The co-location, already a sore point with parents at both schools, became more of an issue in the last year with the approval of a Success Academy Charter School, which will open its doors in a renovated section of IS 59 for the new school year.
Construction debris piled for removal at IS 59 on Monday included wood pallets, empty paint and spackle buckets, and other items indicating ongoing renovations.
Right now the only evidence of the pending construction at PS 176 is the erection of a construction fence, the posting of warning signs and the location of a trailer in the paved area off of 235th Street.
During hearings on the Success co-location, no fewer than a dozen parents, as well as some public officials, asked what would happen to all students at IS 59 if construction was not completed as planned.
The same concern was raised in the past week by a board member of Community Education Council 29, and a Springfield Gardens resident who was walking past IS 59 on Monday morning.
But a statement provided by the DOE on Tuesday said that is not a concern, as the School Construction Authority “does not miss deadlines for school openings. ... If the contractor falls behind, we take measures to increase the workforce as needed and correct any delays.”
Right now the plan is for all PS 176 students to remain at IS 59 until the new wing is completed.
While confident there will be no deadline issues, the DOE did say that they routinely prepare contingency plans in such cases, and will do so in this case shortly after construction begins in Cambria Heights.
The statement also said the contract stipulates that there would be financial penalties against the contractor if the completion date is missed.
The DOE said the 30-to-60-day estimate is based on when they expect to secure all final permits to begin.
The extension will be three stories high, and will be accessible for the estimated 372-student population from pre-K through grade 5.
The DOE said it will include 17 new classrooms, a science resource room, library, new guidance office, new cafeteria and kitchen. It will be fully air conditioned.
The existing building will get a new art room, exercise room, a pair of special education classrooms and a medical suite.
De Matteis Construction of Long Island is the general contractor. The contracted cost is $50.2 million.