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Queens Chronicle

Learning annex in, trailers out at PS 85

Constantinides makes announcement following decades of complaints

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Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2019 10:30 am

Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) announced last Thursday that a state-of-the-art learning annex will replace trailer classrooms at PS 85 in Long Island City, marking the end of classroom trailers in Council District 22.

“No longer will any child in this Council District have to shiver through a math lesson with his or her coat on, or suffer through hot temperatures in one of these trailers,” Constantinides said in a statement.

The school will receive a new 476-seat building. The project is in the design phase and construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 and is expected to take three years.

Asked where children who might have been placed in the trailers will go in the interim, a Constantinides spokesman said the Department of Education is working that out.

The Department of Education did not answer questions for this story by deadline.

PS 85, The Charles Vallone School, is operating at 140 percent capacity with more than 100 kindergarten and pre-K students learning in the portable classrooms. The trailers have been in place for decades despite complaints that they lack proper heating and cooling.

“This new annex will provide much needed relief for the students and staff at PS 85 allowing us to remove Transportable Classroom Units and provide students with a comfortable and nurturing place to learn,” said Lorraine Grillo, president and CEO of the city’s School Construction Authority. She added that the SCA plans to remove all TCUs in the city, noting that 94 have been removed in Queens and 31 more have been identified for removal.

“Schools are a home away from home for our kids and trailers are neither welcoming nor conducive to learning,” said Community Board 1 Chairwoman Marie Torniali, who called the planned annex “a proud moment for Astoria.”

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