By Mark Hallum
City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) led the groundbreaking ceremony for an addition to PS 49 in Middle Village Friday.
Crowley said the community of Middle Village has voiced complaints about overcrowding at PS 49 since 2011, prompting the councilwoman to advocate for an expansion of the facility with the School Construction Authority.
A 26,000-square-foot building will be added to the original structure, which was erected in 1933, to accommodate higher enrollment rates. The project is overseen by the SCA with capital funds from the Department of Education.
The addition will connect to the main lobby and stand three stories tall with 15 classrooms, two of which will be for special education students. There will also be three resource rooms, a medical suite and a cafeteria.
“This sorely needed addition to PS/IS 49 is a true investment in our children and our community. New classrooms, including ones with computer and science labs, will more than give our local students the resources they need to build a strong foundation. Middle Village and the PS/IS 49 community will benefit greatly from this project for generations to come,” a release from the architectural firm, John Ciardullo P.C. said.
The addition is in compliance with the New York City Green Schools Guide and Rating System, which requires that schools be designed for energy efficiency and a healthy environment.
In 2009, there was an addition made to PS 49’s facilities under Mayor Bloomberg’s administration as part of an initiative to add 13,000 seats to schools across all five boroughs by 2012, according to the city. This added 410 seats to the school’s attendance, but already more is needed.
“The new section, as with the previous expansion, will also reflect – in a modern interpretation – the architectural vocabulary and window rhythm of the original 1933 school building,” senior project architect Chuck Heaphy said.
Known as the Dorothy Bonowit Kole School, PS 49 is located at 63-60 80th St. and currently seats 1,113 elementary and middle school students.
SCA Senior Director of Construction Gordon Tung and PS 49 Principal Thomas Carty attended the ground breaking ceremony, along with other faculty and staff from both the school and the architectural firm.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall