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Queens Chronicle

Ground broken on Francis Lewis annex

555-seat expansion to be ready at high school by September 2021

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019 10:30 am | Updated: 1:19 pm, Thu Jun 13, 2019.

The city’s most overcrowded high school will finally get some breathing room.

Construction kicked off last week for the 555-seat annex at Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows, which is at more than 200 percent capacity.

The new space will include a greenhouse, a science lab, a multipurpose room, a culinary arts room and locker rooms along with at least 18 instructional spaces, according to the School Construction Authority.

The annex will be ready by September 2021.

“In 1960, Francis Lewis opened to alleviate overcrowding at other Queens high schools,” SCA President and CEO Lorraine Grillo said in a prepared statement. “Now, it’s time to meet the increasing demand for seats as our communities continue to grow and prosper. This new annex will provide much needed relief for the students and staff at Francis Lewis and is a vital part of the SCA’s efforts to provide over 5,300 high school seats to Queens.”

Construction of the annex will cost $45.475 million. Classes won’t be interrupted by the building work, the city said.

Grillo, FLHS Principal David Marmor, City Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Community Board 11 Chairwoman Eileen Miller and other officials were at the school last Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony. So were members of the school’s Reserve Officers’ Training Corps.

“This new annex will allow our school to have more programming flexibility along with providing our students with a 21st century learning environment,” Marmor said in his own statement.

Koo dedicated $750,000 in funds for the annex.

“I was happy to contribute funding to this important expansion, and I’d like to thank Principal Marmor and his staff, the Department of Education, and the School Construction Authority for their commitment to ensuring Francis Lewis High School students have the resources they need to succeed,” he said in a prepared statement.

The councilman had previously secured more than $350,00 for a gym renovation at FLHS that was completed in 2016.

Public artwork will be a permanent fixture in the new annex. The city picked artist Bryan Zanisnik to make the art, which will be created with students at the school and will be on the wall of the multipurpose room on the high school’s second floor.

According to the SCA, the room will serve as an area where the culinary students at FLHS can eat. Additionally, it will be used for events.

“I congratulate Francis Lewis High School on this eagerly awaited expansion and look forward to joining the school community at its unveiling,” Assemblywoman Nily Rozic (D-Fresh Meadows) said in her own statement.

Niche, a website focused on reviewing schools in the United States, ranks FLHS as the 25th best public school in the city.

Other overcrowded northeast Queens schools are getting expansions, too. Among them is PS 129 in College Point, which is receiving a 548-seat annex that is expected to be ready in 2020. Additionally, PS 169 in Bayside is getting a 410-seat expansion that is expected to open in 2022.

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