By Bill Parry
Several Astoria public schools will receive capital improvements in the coming year after City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) and Borough President Melinda Katz allocated $3.7 in funding to the School Construction Authority.
Investment will include upgrades to science labs, technology and bathrooms, as well as renewable energy improvements.
“Our investment this year includes more advanced technology and studying tools,” Constantinides said. “New and improved school infrastructure will help encourage students to spend more time studying and learning while enjoying their overall school experience.”
The two leaders made the announcement in front of the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, which will get a new educational film studio. A benefit of studying film in New York, especially in Astoria, is the wide variety of production studios, including Kaufman Astoria Studios.
“Queens has some of the best schools in the state, but to continue their success our schools need to have first-class facilities that will enable our children to reach their full potential,” Katz said.
She allocated $500,000 for a new science lab at PS 300, and bathroom updates at IS 141. In order to help meet the goal of reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050 citywide, Constantinides allocated funding to encourage use of renewable energy at public spaces in the district, including libraries and schools.
PS 122 will become the first public school in Astoria with solar panels, which will decrease emissions and teach children about the importance of combating climate change.
Constantinides also designated $160,000 each at PS 84 and IS 126 for new hydroponic science labs teaching the method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution, without using soil.
These labs will provide hands-on education to students in many subjects including biology, agriculture, technology and nutrition.
He also invested almost $900,000 in technology upgrades at all public schools for computers, laptops and SMART boards.
“This capital investment of millions of dollars will go a long way toward ensuring our kids learn in facilities with modern laboratories and studios, with up-to-date technology and with quality playground space,” Katz said. “Our future depends on our children and their futures depend on important projects like these.”
Constantinides added the lunchroom at PS 122 will soon be less noisy after a $200,000 allocation for soundproofing.
The room was originally built to be used as a gymnasium so the walls are exposed brick and concrete. He said even quiet sounds of conversation are amplified, causing distress and headaches among students.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr