New 350-seat annex set for overcrowded PS 11

Photo courtesy Jimmy Van Bramer
By Rebecca Henely

After a decade and a half of waiting, Woodside’s PS 11 will at last be getting an annex to replace its worn-out modular units.

City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) said this will be a great boon to the overcrowded school, at 54-25 Skillman Ave., which is operating at 120 percent capacity. The new annex will add 350 seats to the school as well as some special classrooms.

“We’ve been pushing since Day 1 since I’ve been a city councilman to get the addition into the city’s capital plan,” Van Bramer said. “I’m so grateful to the School Construction Authority.”

Van Bramer and Gianaris joined PS 11 officials at the school Friday to announce and celebrate the approval of the annex. With an architect already chosen by the city School Construction Authority and an opening date of 2016, Van Bramer said this is the strongest commitment the SCA has shown to helping ease overcrowding in the school.

PS 11 Principal Anna Efkarpides said in a statement that the councilman and Community District Education Council 30, the CDEC for PS 11, were both instrumental in getting the annex on the SCA’s 2010-14 capital plan.

“This wonderful addition to our school will make our parents, our teachers and our students very happy,” Efkarpides said. “Dreams do come true if you work hard enough with a good team to realize them.”

Modular units for 200 students had been installed on the school grounds 15 years ago and continued to be used to teach students far past their shelf life. At a CDEC 30 meeting in 2011, Efkarpides had said that ceiling tiles in the modular units had fallen on students’ heads and some teachers had fallen through the floor of the modular unit.

She also said that even the deteriorating modular units were not enough to serve the student body. Sometimes children have been taught in hallways and locker rooms of PS 11.

“I look forward to celebrating the opening of the new classroom annex so our children can learn in the warm, welcoming environment all students deserve,” Gianaris said in a statement.

CDEC 30 Co-President Jeff Guyton said in a statement he was grateful for the work of all parties in getting the annex approved.

“Every long-term success in our community is the result of many people’s good faith efforts,” he said.

At its meeting last month, CDEC 30 was happy about the expansion, but the council is also hoping that PS 2, at 75-10 21st Ave. in Astoria, will get one soon. Students, faculty and parents have long requested a gymnasium for the school, which was once built for a smaller community.

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

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