The Louis Armstrong Elementary School in Corona, an elementary school built to house 900 students but that currently accommodates 1,800, will no longer have to cram its students into temporary trailers.
State Sen. Jose Peralta announced on Wednesday that the School Construction Authority and Department of Education (DOE) have agreed to build a permanent annex to the school, which would shift many of the children using six trailers, a mini-building and annex on 98th Street as classrooms.
“This is a huge victory for parents because in just a few years from now, our students, finally, will no longer have to go to class and sit in a classroom trailer,” Peralta said. “I want to thank the parents for their continuous efforts demanding the construction of a permanent annex to the school.”
Last April, more than 100 parents and children gathered in front of P.S. 143, located at 34-74 113th St., to call for a permanent addition to the school to alleviate overcrowding. Some students are forced to have lunch as early as 9:50 a.m. to ensure everyone has time to eat, he said. He also said students working out of the trailers or annex have to “face frigid temperatures and snow or rain when they go to their lunch period, or just to use the bathroom.”
Peralta has been advocating for a permanent annex since 2013, but the land that would house the permanent annex is owned by the Parks Department, not the DOE. He argued that the building would not affect recreational areas because it would only take up the space already being used by the mini-building and trailers.
Construction of the permanent annex will begin at the end of the 2016-2017 school year, he said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education said the agency is reviewing proposals for an annex “that will replace the trailers currently in use, service the needs of the community and provide additional space for students to have a supportive learning environment.”
School District 24, which includes Corona and six other neighborhoods, is one of the most overcrowded districts in the city school system. Corona was also the subject of a New York Times article that outlined the severe overcrowding in the neighborhood.
“We, as parents, are very happy about the news that a permanent addition will be constructed,” said Angélica Salgado, president of the Parent-Teacher Association at P.S. 143. “The new building will also improve the quality of education our children receive.”