The construction of a new school in Bayside is running on schedule, but the community still has concerns about the project.
Michael Mirisola, a representative from the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA), attended Monday’s Community Board 11 meeting to update attendees on the construction progress of P.S. 332Q at 210-07 48th Ave. The school will open in September 2017 in time for the new school year, he said.
“We’re on schedule,” Mirisola said. “It’s moving along very well.”
The four-story, 468-seat elementary school being built on the former site of Keil Brothers Garden Center and Nursery has been a source of tension for the community over the last few years. In July 2013, residents and politicians held a rally at the site protesting the proposal, claiming the community was not involved in the department’s decision to place a school there and cited parking and traffic concerns. Despite protests, construction began in the summer of last year.
Despite attempts by Mirisola to reassure attendees, residents strongly voiced concerns about the new school.
“Why wasn’t the community shown renderings of the building before it was built, or told about the size it was going to be?” board member Henry Euler asked. Mirisola responded he did not hold his position at that time and could not provide an answer.
Attendees also raised concerns about whether the job would in fact be done by September 2017.
“This job is awarded a certain amount of money,” Mirisola said. “The contractor has an obligation to get the job done and get kids in that building in September 2017.”
Concerns were also raised about traffic impact, property values and whether the building fits in with the character of the neighborhood.
“There are houses now I would think are unsellable [sic] because [the school] is in their backyards,” one board member said.
“There’s no such thing as a perfect space,” Mirisola said. “There is no such thing as a perfect school … We have to make allowances; we have to make exceptions.”
“Those renderings: they’re wonderful. The school is magnificent,” board member Ocelia Claro said. “It just does not fit in this neighborhood. It does not fit at that site.”
Claro’s statement received applause.
P.S. 332 will serve students in pre-K through fifth grade.