In Woodside, a School Grows

Expansion Planned For Overcrowded P.S. 11

Calling itmuch needed and long fought for,” City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer joined other local leaders on Friday, Jan. 4 to announce plans for an expansion of P.S. 11 in Woodside.

City Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer (at podium in top photo) announces the expansion of P.S. 11 in Woodside at a Friday, Jan. 4 press conference in the school’s playground. The expansion will benefit kindergarten students who currently walk outside through the yard to portable classroom trailers (as shown in the bottom photo).

“This is a very, very good day for Woodside,” said the lawmaker.

The 350-seat addition, to be built in the school’s playground, will alleviate the school’s overcrowding; currently,

P.S. 11, located at 54-25 Skillman Ave., is at 120 percent capacity, and two classes currently use 15- year-old portable classroom trailers.

“Despite the over-capacity, it does amazingly well,” Van Bramer noted.

“We know first-hand how important it is to alleviate the overcrowding in these schools,” added State Sen. Michael Gianaris, who attended nearby P.S. 84.

The expansion will also keep those students who need to walk outside through the playground-even in inclement weather-to get to class.

Funding has been secured and construction is expected to begin later this year. OMNNI Associates has been selected to design the addition. P.S. 11 Principal Anne Efkarpides noted that plans include music and fitness rooms inside the structure.

Van Bramer also noted that five new schools are planned for the area, to be split between School Districts 24 and 30, totaling about 2,500 new seats. I.S./H.S. 404 in Hunters Point and P.S./I.S. 312 at Queens West in Long Island City are scheduled to open in September 2013/2014 school semester this fall. P.S. 313 in Sunnyside is scheduled to open in 2014 and a new, as-yet-unnamed school which will be located on 39th Avenue and 57th Street is set to open in 2015.

Efkarpides noted that she had been pushing for the addition since 2001.

“We weren’t going to stop until we gave you this addition,” said School Construction Authority (SCA) CEO Lorraine Grillo. “This is going to be an extraordinary project.”

Grillo and District 30 Community Education Council (CEC 30) Co- President Jeffrey Guyton referenced the challenges that face the expansion’s construction.

The addition will be inside the school’s playground, located on Skillman Avenue between 54th and 56th streets, and will take up the footprint of the current portable trailers.

The area alongside it, home to Doughboy Park, is on a steep incline, and a “staging area” for construction materials will have to take the area topography into account.

In addition, Efkarpides noted that P.S. 11 will need to find space for the kindergarten classes currently being held inside the trailers.

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