Expansion announced for overcrowded I.S. 125 in Woodside

IS 125
THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

Overcrowding may soon be one less problem to solve at one Woodside school.

Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer gathered with other elected officials, School Construction Authority (SCA) representatives, the school administration, parents and students to announce the expansion of I.S. 125, located at 46-02 47th Ave.

The SCA plans to build an approximately $50 million, 600-seat annex at the middle school, which has dealt with overcrowding for many years, according to officials. The annex is expected to replace the trailers located in the school’s playground and a “temporary” mini-building, which was erected more than 20 years ago.

“I.S. 125 is finally, after years of advocacy and fighting, going to get the expansion and addition that it truly deserves,” said Van Bramer. “[Students] they deserve to learn in a modern, state-of-the-art facility that will make everyone proud, that will only enhance learning.”

Construction of the annex is expected to begin as early as this year, including the demolition of the current mini-building, said Van Bramer.

The new addition will feature a brand new cafeteria, gymnasium and state-of-the-art classrooms.

“I’m so happy to be able to replace those [trailers and the mini-building] with a brand new state-of-the-art addition for these children,” said Lorraine Grillo, SCA president. “They deserve it, they have deserved it.”

Seventh grader and vice president of the student government Alysia Quan, 13, said the students are really excited to have the outdoor classrooms removed because they are freezing making their way to classes.

Currently, more than 200 seventh grade students have to walk in and out of the school building, through rain and snow, in order to attend their classes inside the trailers. Around 240 students have classes in the mini-building.

“We had a hope at 125, we had a hope that we would be able to have classrooms that weren’t in the cafeteria, we had a hope that there wouldn’t be classrooms in the library so that children could visit the library whenever they wanted to, we had a hope that in the auditorium we could have shows, we wouldn’t have to have classrooms,” said I.S. 125 Principal Judy Mittler. “In this world, the fact that a hope becomes a reality, and becomes a reality so quickly, is mind boggling. Thank you isn’t enough.”

The expansion of I.S. 125 is part of six new schools Van Bramer has helped bring into western Queens and which will all be fully operational by 2016.

“What’s more important in life than your children?” said Mittler. “And [the students], they’re my children too.”