Overcrowded school in Middle Village is getting a much-needed expansion

QNS/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Opened less than a decade ago, the four-story P.S./I.S. 128 in Middle Village will soon be expanded to accommodate its bursting student population.

The decision to build the expansion came after Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley wrote a letter to the School Construction Authority (SCA) President and CEO Lorraine Grillo, opposing the organization’s original plan to do ground-testing at the site for the construction of a self-standing Universal Pre-K (UPK) center in the school’s playground in September 2015.

Since it opened in 2009 to replace an adjacent one-story schoolhouse, Crowley said, P.S./I.S. 128 “could not contain its student population, forcing kids to use the annex across the street” that had been previously opened to accommodate students at the school.

The former one-story schoolhouse accommodated children from kindergarten through fifth grade; its newer and larger replacement serves students up to the eighth grade. The playground was built in the footprint of the former schoolhouse.

“I have continually called attention to the need for new schools and more education space in my district, and P.S./I.S. 128 was not provided the proper amount of seats from its inception,” Crowley said. “I am so pleased the SCA recognized this and will move forward with an addition, rightfully bringing all of the school’s students back into one building and alleviating burdensome overcrowding.”

Grillo listened to Crowley’s concerns, and went forward with a feasibility study on an addition to the school building itself, designated for the local school community, instead of using it for a UPK site.

“We are committed to working together with all stakeholders to reduce overcrowding” Grillo said. “This new addition will allow us to continue our work to address overcrowding in School District 24. We are proud of our strong partnership with local leaders that has enabled us to provide more school seats for our students.”

Currently, P.S./I.S. 128 is at 123 percent capacity and houses first- and second-graders in the annex building across the street, which lacks a gym or a computer lab. Some of the classrooms also do not have windows, according to Crowley’s office.

“I am looking forward to working with the school community on the details of this project so it can benefit everyone,” Crowley added. “When our children are in the best environment to learn, they are given the best opportunity to succeed.”

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