By Patrick Donachie
An intersection near the Grand Central Parkway in East Elmhurst will soon be the site of a new middle school, according to Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland (D–East Elmhurst) and the School Construction Authority.
The new school will be located at 111th Street and Astoria Boulevard, which is also the intersecting point for Ditmas Boulevard and an entrance and exit for the expressway. This marks the eighth school being built in Ferreras-Copleand’s district, according to the councilwoman.
“Constructing schools to meet the needs of my community has been a challenge and a priority for me since day one. Every student deserves a beautiful space to learn,” she said. “I have canvassed my district for the past six years to find adequate sites for schools, and I thank SCA for moving quickly to make this middle school a reality for families in East Elmhurst.”
The School Construction Authority’s revised 2016 capital plan for fiscal years 2015–2019 identified a need for 1,397 new seats in the subdistrict of School District 30 that includes East Elmhurst. The subdistrict also includes Jackson Heights.
According to Ferreras-Copeland, the school design process will begin shortly, followed by a community engagement process and a vote before the New York City Council. Considering Ferreras-Copeland supports the location, the Council will likely follow her lead and vote in favor of the location of the new school.
Myrna Palacios, a parent leader and board member for the Queens chapter of Make the Road New York, applauded the news of the new school.
“A new middle school that will relieve school overcrowding is precisely what our community needs,” she said. “Immigrant children and families like mine across Queens have suffered for too long due to inadequate classroom space and school facilities, and this new school will be an important step to ensuring that our children have the opportunity to thrive.”
Astoria Boulevard has undergone pedestrian improvements in the past few months, including the addition of pedestrian islands in the street, and the SCA will take traffic concerns into consideration during the construction of the school, according to a spokeswoman for Ferreras-Copeland.
Additionally, the School Construction Authority is moving forward on a new addition to Public School 143 at 34-74 113th St. in North Corona. The structure will be an addition to the existing building, and will include 1,020 new seats, according to the SCA. The school currently enrolls 1,723 students, according to the school’s DOE website.
Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdona