By Alexander Dworkowitz
Workers have nearly finished renovation of PS 29, one of College Point's two public schools, and the project is slated to be completed in April, its principal said.
Parents, teachers, students and administrators were looking forward to the end of the work, which started in September 2001 and had fallen behind schedule. The school has remained open during the project.
The renovation of the 75-year-old building includes replacement of half of the schools windows and repairs to the roof, which had been leaking for years.
All of the lights in the school are being replaced, and every classroom will have Internet access.
“We have begun an initiative this year to integrate computers in the classroom,” said Peggy Miller, who has been principal of the school for 10 years.
Miller said the renovation was behind schedule, but the workers wanted to make sure the repairs were done right.
“We're looking forward to its completion so they can remove the scaffolding…” Miller said. “We're actually kind of excited to get it all done.”
The school's yard has been used to house equipment for the work and will reopen to students at the end of the renovation.
Arlene Fleishman, president of School Board 25, which covers College Point, Whitestone, Flushing, Bay Terrace and Kew Gardens Hills, said schools as old as PS 29 were constantly being fixed.
“There's always a need for repairs, ” she said. “These schools are used constantly.”
Fleishman said she had not gotten any feedback, positive or negative, from parents about the work on the school.
“We haven't heard any complaints,” she said. “When they come into do repairs, they usually are very cautious.”
Last year students at PS 29 scored in the top half of schools in School District 25, one of the city's highest-performing district. Some 63.7 percent of the students met reading standards, and 63.6 percent of students met math standards.
On Feb. 14, PS 29 was named one of the city's 208 schools that will be allowed to keep their own curriculum rather than adopt a new city standard.
Despite the strong scores, PS 29 suffers somewhat from overcrowding.
Four years ago, the city put four “portables,” temporary classrooms which resemble trailers, alongside the school.
Many of the parents have requested the portables because they have air-conditioning, Miller said.
“They're wonderful spaces, but they're not attached to the building,” Miller said.
For several years, PS 29 leased space from the nearby St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church for three kindergarten classes.
But this year, St. John's did not renew the agreement, and the three kindergarten classes of 75 students had to be absorbed back into the main building of the school, which now houses a little more than 600 students.
“We are as crowded as we have ever been,” Miller said. “This is the first year of being this crowded because of losing the kindergarten space.”
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718 229-0300, Ext. 141.