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St. Mary’s launches new preschool for Bayside residents

Photo by Phil Corso
By Phil Corso

It was only fitting that outgoing Queens Borough President Helen Marshall cut the ceremonial ribbon for a new preschool that bears her name in Bayside.

Marshall joined St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children Tuesday morning to celebrate the new school’s opening and the borough president’s name decorated the wall inside the main building at its Bayside campus to mark her contribution.

The Borough President Helen Marshall Early Education Center for children who are receiving medical treatment and rehabilitation at St. Mary’s.

Former Borough President Claire Shulman stood beside Marshall as she snipped the ribbon at the preschool’s front entrance, which is inside the inpatient facility in Bayside. During her time in office, Shulman was a strong supporter of the Bayside children’s hospital.

Marshall said she was proud to see the unique educational opportunity, which she said was unlike any other in the city, dedicated in her name.

“There isn’t a person who has walked through these doors who hasn’t been touched,” Marshall said. “I love working with children, and I will try to make this a learning experience for all of them. I’m looking forward to working as hard as I can with these young people.”

St. Mary’s interim President and CEO Eddie Simpser said the hospital has always made education one of its top priorities while treating children, and the new preschool would not have been possible without Marshall’s assistance.

Marshall has helped St. Mary’s through her involvement in the facility’s expansion over the years and by providing funding through the borough president’s office when possible.

“What makes this unique is it helps kids who could not get the same education in other preschools,” he said. “We really, truly appreciate the borough president’s support. It is our pleasure today to unveil this space in her name.”

St. Mary’s celebrated another key milestone in 2012 when it opened up a new patient pavilion at 29-01 216th St. in Bayside. The ribbon-cutting ceremony last October featured a star-studded lineup of guests who all came to celebrate the new home for 97 of St. Mary’s residents. The renovation made way for the new preschool’s space as well, after the hospital doubled its size to 178,000 square feet, the hospital said.

All the hospital’s residents moved into the new patient pavilion last year, and the health care system has since been upgrading its existing building, originally constructed in the 1950s, which is currently home to various treatment and care programs.

Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at pcorso@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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