They’re building it, but who’s coming?
Community Board 10 received an update Thursday night on the school under construction at Albert Road and Raleigh Street in the Centreville section of Ozone Park, but one piece of information about who would actually go to the school perked their interest the most.
P.S. 335, which is slated to start welcoming students next September, will have 20 classrooms including two special ed classrooms and eight District 75 classrooms, according to Schools Construction Authority (SCA) representative Ben Goodman, who spoke at Thursday’s Board 10 meeting in South Ozone Park.
The school will house about 500 students, including 100 District 75 students, and have two separate playgrounds: one for early childhood students and one for the rest of the kindergarten through fifth-grade classes.
But what concerned the board members was the proposed zoning map for the school, which is not what they expected to see. The proposed zoning for P.S. 335 would include a significant chunk of Ozone Park west of Cross Bay Boulevard, leaving out some students from the northern part of the community.
Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton said the board’s approval of the school several years ago came in part because the facility was considered “walk-in ready,” meaning that most of its students would come from the immediately surrounding community within walking distance. There is no public elementary school in the Centreville area, requiring students to cross dangerous thoroughfares (Rockaway Boulevard, Cross Bay Boulevard and North Conduit Avenue) to get to a school if their parents cannot drive them.
“We can live with a minor tweak, but with the danger of crossing the boulevard, it’s a very difficult thing,” Braton said, adding that the board would refer their concerns to District 27’s Community Education Council, which will vote on the proposed zoning plan later this month.
Pat McCabe, a representative from state Senator Joe Addabbo’s office, said the senator, as well as Councilman Eric Ulrich, were concerned about the zoning plan.
“We expected 10 or so families from west of Cross Bay to be included in the zoning,” she said. “But this is much more. This is not what we were promised.”
McCabe said upwards of 400 families zoned for the school would be forced to send their kids across the boulevard.
Another concern, mentioned by CB 10 First Vice Chairman John Calcagnile, was where students would enter the school. The school’s main entrance is to be on Raleigh Street; before construction, Raleigh Street was a dead-end street. The board had approved the school with the understanding that Raleigh Street would now connect to Albert Road to allow for movement of traffic. Goodman said he believed that would be the case.