By Bill Parry
Twenty years after it was installed to ease overcrowding at PS 2 in East Elmhurst, officials announced the modular building in the school yard will finally be removed, and replaced with a permanent indoor learning space for students.
The modular structure hosts nearly 120 students separate from the main building, making it difficult for them to feel a sense of unity with their fellow schoolmates while rendering the school yard less useful for outdoor physical activity.
“Our students deserve a permanent educational space that’s indoors rather than in modular buildings or trailers,” City Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) said. “All children should have adequate recreational and playground space. I am proud that after years of advocacy, the students at PS 2 will no longer be separated and will instead be able to learn in a unified environment.”
The capital project will soon begin the design phase, which typically lasts one year. Once construction begins, the students will be supported in the main school building for the duration of the project.
“With this new addition, our students will not only be able to grow, they will thrive,” PS 2 Principal Amy Goldman said. “Our entire community will forever be changed because of the opportunity this addition will afford.”
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) voiced his support of the plan.
“Investing in our children’s education is the most important kind of investment we can make,” Crowley said. “The expansion of PS 2 is exciting news for our community. Not only will it help alleviate overcrowding, but it will also provide students with an adequate learning environment necessary for them to succeed.”
The School Construction Authority hopes to complete construction of the extension by 2020. The cost of the project has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) announced that he has secured state funding to upgrade the auditorium at PS 19 in Corona, which is also used for community functions. The $250,000 allocation will modernize the auditorium by replacing broken seats, installing a new audio system and upgrading the electrical system to facilitate the installation on an air conditioning unit.
“Modernizing the auditorium will provide a better learning environment for students and a more inviting setting for the entire community,” Peralta said. “The broken chairs can be dangerous to the students, it is necessary to replace them. We must work together to ensure students at the Marino Jeantet School have a usable auditorium. A location that is also a point of gathering for the community, this project will benefit all.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr