Boro schools near airports to get $30M soundproofing

By Philip Newman

Eleven Queens schools near John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports will receive nearly $30 million in soundproofing to be paid for by the federal government and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The Queens schools to benefit from the soundproofing along with the cost at each school:

Beach Channel High School in Rockaway Park, $12.1 million; the College of Aeronautics in Flushing, $40,000; John Bowne High School in Flushing, $8 million; Monsignor McClancy Memorial in Flushing, $25,000; PS 146 in Howard Beach, $40,000; PS 180 in Rockaway Park, $4 million; PS. 195 in Rosedale, $40,000; St. Michael in Flushing, $25,000; IS 198 in Arverne, $4.5 million; St. Pius X in Rosedale, $25,000: Lexington School for the Deaf in Jackson Heights, $40,000.

The latest schools to be soundproofed are part of the Port Authority’s 20-year project to lessen the effect of aircraft noise on classrooms in New York and New Jersey and the $44.5 million recently committed is the most money to be earmarked so far in the latest phase.

“The Port Authority’s school soundproofing program has continually demonstrated its success in schools,” said Port Authority Chairman Jack Sinagra.

“It is imperative that our children have all the tools they need to excel in the classroom,” said Gov. George Pataki. “This includes providing an environment that allows students to concentrate without the distraction of aircraft noise.”

The future of the soundproofing effort by the Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration, which provides 90 percent of the funding, is dependent on the availability of federal money. The Port Authority administers the soundproofing and provides the balance of the funds.

To be eligible for soundproofing, a school must meet criteria set by the FAA and the federal environmental Protection Agency.

Since the program began in 1983, the Port Authority has committed $226.2 million to soundproof 78 schools in New York and New Jersey.

Queens anti-aircraft noise activists have been saying for years that noise from takeoffs and landings adversely affects students.

Results of a survey of students near the airport in Munich, Germany agreed with that contention.

Dr. Alan Greene of Sane Aviation for Everyone known as SANE, a Queens anti-noise organization, said he escorted an academic from Columbia University on visits to several Queens schools in a survey on aircraft noise.

“At each school, the principal said there was absolutely no problem,” Greene said. “But the students told us everything in the classroom had to stop until each airplane was far enough away so anyone could hear.”

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 136.

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