By Bill Parry
A Corona school will be adding nearly 1,000 new seats with a new $88 million permanent extension to replace decades-old classroom trailers.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) joined city officials and educators Monday to break ground for the construction of a new building for PS 143, known as the Louis Armstrong School on Junction Boulevard, one of the most overcrowded schools in the city.
“This is a magnificent victory for the parents, for the students, for the community and for all of us,” Peralta said. “The new permanent addition to PS 143 will help us fight overcrowding and ensure children don’t have to learn in a rusty trailer. With the construction of this new state-of-the-art building, schoolchildren will be educated in the modern environment they deserve.”
The new building will have the capacity to serve 980 students with 22 new classrooms for grades 1 through 5, 11 new kindergarten classrooms, six special education rooms, three reading and speech resource rooms, three art classrooms, two science resource rooms, one library, one exercise room, a student cafeteria, a kitchen complex and one guidance suite. The new structure is slated to open in September 2020.
“Almost 1,000 new seats to tackle overcrowding means a better quality education for students,” Peralta said. “I am very happy the project I proposed years ago is becoming a reality. Our kids are the greatest winners. This is an A for everyone.”
Angelica Salgado, the president of the PS 143 PTA, called it an exciting moment for the community.
“After almost 30 years, no more trailers in our school, and in a couple of years our children will have a state-of-the-art building with science and music classrooms among many other great things,” she said.
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) cut the ribbon on the completed $100 million extension at IS 125 in Woodside last Friday. The new five-story annex adds 600 seats to the overcrowded middle school that is at 123 percent capacity where children were exposed to the elements walking outside to reach classes in “temporary” trailers.
“Good schools are the bedrock of good neighborhoods,” Van Bramer said. “IS 125’s staff, teachers. and families work hard every day to make sure their children get an exceptional education — by completing this expansion, we are ensuring that students have modern, functional spaces in which to learn. As neighborhoods across western Queens continue to grow, investments in our schools like the one today are investments in the future of our communities.”
Since he took office in 2010, 12 new schools have been built or funded in Van Bramer’s district.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr