BY JON CRONIN
The School Construction Authority announced at the Queens Borough Board’s meeting on Sept. 18 that it is desperately looking for space for new schools in Queens.
“We’re always interested in learning about new sites,” said Michael Mirisola, the director of external affairs for the School Construction Authority (SCA).
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz pointed out that the borough needs 32,000 seats to accommodate all of its students, but there are only 18,000 seats scheduled to be added. She asked Mirisola if this is due to a lack of available locations.
Mirisola said that the SCA does not have the required space for all of Queens’ students and is looking for lot sizes of approximately 24,000 square feet.
He encouraged Queens residents to contact the members of their community boards and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Queens, schools are at an average of 119 percent capacity.
“We have brokers who work in every borough in every district,” Mirisola said. “We are constantly doing tests to see if sites will hold a school. We go through that exercise many times during the week and many of them just don’t pass muster. Most fall by the wayside and, generally, the reason is size.”
Vinnie Arcuri, chairman of Community Board 5, asked if the SCA has plans for reuse once the student population falls in 2030. Mirisola said that the SCA only plans five to 10 years into the future and that “2030 is too far out.”
Mirisola and Benjamin Goodman, the SCA’s community relations manager, said that the agency has been able to build enough extensions and new buildings to incorporate 65 temporary classroom units into permanent locations. There are still 40 temporary classroom units in transition.
Some of the SCA’s Queens school additions with completion dates are a 980-seat addition at PS 143 in Flushing that is expected for completion in 2020, and will be followed by a 211-seat annex in 2018. Other funded projects across the borough include a 440-seat addition at PS 128 in Middle Village opening in 2020, a 600-seat PS 24 addition that will wrap up in 2018, a 548-seat PS 129 addition that will open in 2020, a 640-seat addition at PS 19 that will be completed by 2018, an Academy of American Studies addition that will have 969 new seats by 2021 and Francis Lewis High School Annex’s 555-seat addition in 2021.
The new schools in the borough will include PS 398 (476 seats) opening in 2019 at 69-01 34th Ave. in Jackson Heights; a 646-seat IS 419 at 111-10 Astoria Blvd.; a site in East Elmhurst in 2021; a 612-seat school on 2nd Avenue in Long Island City in 2021; a public school with 612 seats at 1-50 54th Ave. in Long Island City that will open in 2021; a new intermediary school at 38-04 48th St. with 824 seats that will debut in 2021; and a new IS/HS 336 with 507 seats that will be located at 124-06 14th Ave. in College Point and open in 2018.
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400 x125, email@example.com or @JonathanSCronin.