Central Queens Academy, a charter middle school, is looking to expand into new locations in both Middle Village and Elmhurst in order to grow the school to serve both elementary and high school students.
The charter school has two locations, 55-30 Junction Blvd. in Elmhurst and 88-24 Myrtle Ave. in Glendale. The Elmhurst location serves grades five and six, while the Glendale location serves seventh- and eighth-graders. In total, there are approximately 400 students — 200 at each location — currently attending the school.
For the start of the 2016-17 school year, Central Queens Academy requested to add a high school program with approximately 100 students in the ninth grade, and growing by one grade each year, as well as to add an elementary program with approximately 100 students in kindergarten and growing by one grade each year. At full capacity the school would serve approximately 1,300 students in grades K-12.
Two locations have been suggested for the expansion sites. The first is an old fitness center behind LeFrak City in Elmhurst and the second is said to be the former Joe Abbracciamento Restaurant on Woodhaven Boulevard in Middle Village.
“Neither building is currently under consideration by CQA,” said Ashish Kapadia, Central Queens Academy school director/principal. “They were suggestions made by the public in attendance at Monday night’s meeting as sites we should consider.”
SUNY, who must approve the expansion, noted that if approved, Queens Central Academy may not implement both expansions.
If SUNY does agree to accept one of the grade expansions, SUNY would also need to amend the school’s charter so the expansion will be contingent upon Central Queens Academy providing a renewal application including the grade expansion, qualifying for at least a short-term renewal pursuant to the SUNY renewal policies, and the school must in good standing at that time.
“I don’t know if they will get their expansion,” said Pat Grayson, chair of the Education Committee of Community Board 5. “I was really happy with what I saw at the school, but there is just no space for an expansion.”
Central Queens Academy made it clear that they are not looking to build a new school. They want to find vacant buildings in District 24, such as old parish schools, so the 1,300 students would be spread out across multiple buildings.
“CQA is not looking to build a new facility,” Kapadia said. “We are looking to lease a private building in District 24. We are still searching for a building.”
The school also stressed that any expansion that may come would be designated exclusively for District 24 students, just as the main school is.