A new elementary school spanning four existing lots on 39th Avenue, between 57th and 58th streets, in Woodside, will be built in 2013 with a scheduled fall 2015 opening, officials announced at a press conference today.
The school will have 440 seats. Construction will begin in the spring or summer of 2013, according to Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), who held the conference.
To find an adequate site for the school, “we redoubled our efforts,” said Lorraine Grillo, the president of the School Construction Authority. Businesses at the site where the new school will be — now home to an incongruous group of brick warehouses on a street filled with two-family homes — have either already moved or are being relocated, Grillo said.
Referring to a particularly overcrowded school nearby, Grillo added, “I’m trying to get an expansion to PS 11.”
As reported in the Chronicle in December, Woodside’s PS 11, an elementary school located at 54-25 Skillman Ave., is beset with problems. The school has an outdated modular unit, installed a decade ago, with holes in its floor.
It is also operating at 117 percent overcapacity, according to officials at Thursday’s press conference. Despite this, the school was removed from the city’s $11.2 billion five-year capital plan, though it had been previously slated for expansion.
Grillo noted the new school would be a “PS,” open to the public. Van Bramer's office later confirmed the school would be an elementary school, and said during the press conference that he hoped it would provide “spring space” for “any expansion that’s going to happen at PS 11.”
For Valarie LaMour, a member of the District 30 Community Education Council, which spans western Queens, the announcement is very good news.
“Obviously, we’re very happy, we need the seats,” LaMour said after the press conference. District 30 is by all accounts “one of the most overcrowded in the city of New York” according to Van Bramer.
“Overcrowding here, it is out of hand,” LaMour emphasized. She added she hoped officials would “turn their eye” to PS 2, which she said is also in need of expansion.
State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria), Assemblyman Michael DenDekker (D-Jackson Heights), and representatives from the offices of Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens and the Bronx) and Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Sunnyside) were also present at the announcement.
This story was updated to reflect the new school will be an elementary school, a detail confirmed after the press conference referenced.