By Bill Parry
Hundreds of Sunnyside and Woodside students began the new school year Thursday in two state-of-the-art annexes built to replace aging portable classrooms and reduce overcrowding. City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) toured the new facilities at PS 11 in Woodside and IS 125 in Sunnyside last week.
“Our kids deserve nothing but the best, and I’m proud of the work we’ve done to fund and build an unprecedented number of schools in western Queens,” Van Bramer said. “Together, these projects bring nearly 1,000 new seats to alleviate overcrowding and represent a nearly $200 million investment in our children which is an investment in the future of our community.”
Both the 350-seat, $92 million PS 11 annex at 54-25 Skillman Avenue in Woodside and the 600-seat, $84 million IS 125 annex at 46-02 47th St. in Sunnyside include additional classroom space, libraries, dance studios, and renovated cafeterias. A new middle school is planned at 48th Street and Barnett Avenue as early as 2019.
“I’m grateful to the parents, faculty and staff and community members who have joined in this fight to give all of our children the space, resources and tools they need to succeed,” he said.
Van Bramer also toured a newly converted 180-seat universal pre-K Center in Long Island City with Deputy Mayor Richard Beury. Q972 occupies the first two floors of 27-35 Jackson Ave. in Court Square, which used to house a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services center.
“I am thrilled to see this beautiful new pre-K Center in Long Island City completed in time for the start of the school year,” Van Bramer said. “With incredible parks, museums and a real sense of community, parents from all over New York City are discovering that Long Island City is a great place to raise a family.”
More than 11,000 residential units have been constructed in Long Island City in the past decade and nearly 9,000 new units are slated to come on line this year. It will be the most in a single year in the neighborhood’s history and almost double the area’s existing inventory.
With that development in mind, the Gantry Parents Association began petitioning for more pre-K space in 2016.
“Last year, I joined with parents to call for more seats to accommodate this increase in families and expecting parents moving to Long Island City to raise their children,” Van Bramer said. “And now, that dream has been realized with the completion of this pre-K Center.”
Since taking office in 2010, Van Bramer has overseen the construction, siting or funding of two new schools in western Queens.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr