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Woodside awaits 440-seat school slated to open in ‘15

Photo courtesy Jimmy Van Bramer
By Rebecca Henely

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) announced Friday the city Department of Education and city School Construction Authority had agreed to purchase four lots to build a 440-seat school in Woodside.

Van Bramer and other officials said this school would help alleviate the overcrowding in Community School District 30, one of the districts most starved for seats in the city.

“This agreement will not only give our children the adequate space that is needed to learn but will also alleviate the strain that has been put on schools in the surrounding area,” Van Bramer said in a statement.

The lots are at 57th Street and 39th Avenue. Van Bramer’s office said the school’s construction will start in spring or summer 2013 and it should be open by September 2015.

“The construction of additional classroom space is welcome news that will help the children of Woodside obtain a more productive learning environment,” state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) said in a statement.

District 30 encompasses the neighborhoods of Astoria, Long Island City, East Elmhurst, most of Jackson Heights and parts of Sunnyside, Woodside and Corona. While its neighbor, District 24, holds the crown for the most-crowded school district in the city, public schools in District 30 and their advocates have rallied for resources to alleviate overcrowding.

At a Community District Education Council 30 meeting in December, representatives from PS 11, at 54-25 Skillman Ave. in Woodside, protested after their school did not get a promised expansion in the district’s five-year plan. PS 11 Principal Anna Efkarpides said classes have been held in hallways, locker rooms and the school showers due to lack of space and their modular unit has deteriorated.

Isaac Carmignani, co-president of CDEC 30, said in an e-mail the new school in Woodside could help the problems at PS 11.

“That was some of the best news I heard last week,” Carmignani said. “Four hundred and forty seats is phenomenal.”

PS 11 is at 117 percent capacity, Van Bramer’s office said.

The councilman said he would continue to search for new sites for schools in the district.

Other schools coming to the district include PS 280 and located at the former Blessed Sacrament School, at 34-20 94th St. in Jackson Heights; PS/IS 312, in at 46-08 5th St. in Long Island City, an annex to IS 230, at 74th Street and 34th Avenue; and an addition to PS 70, at 30-45 42nd St. in Astoria.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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