By Carlotta Mohamed
At long last, students living in and around the College Point neighborhood will have a middle-school option.
City Councilman Paul Vallone (D-Bayside) joined Principal Renee Klager and representatives from the School Construction Authority for a walkthrough of MS 379, a new junior high school in College Point set to officially open next Wednesday for a new incoming class of sixth graders.
“I’m very excited about opening the very first public middle school in College Point,” said Klager. “I cannot wait to welcome students and the community to the school, and look forward to working collaboratively with students and the community to build a student-centered learning environment.”
The new 507-seat school, named the College Point Collaborative, at 124-06 14th Ave. was designed and constructed by the School Construction Authority at the site of the former St. Fidelis School, which closed its doors in 2013 due to declining enrollment and increased operating costs.
The school’s name was selected by students at PS 29 and PS 129.
College Point residents have been pushing for a middle school in their district for years because students have been forced to travel outside their neighborhood to attend junior high school.
Historically, College Point middle schoolers have had to travel to either PS 185 in Flushing or PS 194 in Whitestone as their nearest options.
The air-conditioned and fully accessible three-story building has 19 classrooms and two district special education classrooms as well as a reading resource room, art classroom, science lab, music suite, library and gymnasium with locker rooms.
Vallone said the school has partnered with the New York Harbor School on Governor’s Island and the Coastal Preservation Network to provide further marine biology resources, environmental awareness and opportunities for students moving forward.
The Coastal Preservation Network will be working with the school’s science department, allowing students to take at least two trips to the nearby waterfront to work with Dr. James Cervino, a marine pathologist, to observe oysters and plant seagrass. The school is also exploring work with the Billion Oyster Project to study oyster life and survival.
In preparation for the start of the school year, Vallone also worked with the Department of Transportation to secure a school slow zone around the building for the safety of students, parents and teachers.
“To stand at the doors of College Point’s brand new middle school on the eve of its inaugural year is to realize a long-awaited dream for the community,” said Vallone. “College Point Collaborative is truly a team effort that has included the parents and families of College Point from day one. Principal Klager’s vision and determination is clearly seen in the beauty and uniqueness of every room in the school.”
On Sept. 7 at 7:30 a.m., the school will host a “Coffee and Conversation” event where parents and school community members are invited to meet Klager and view the school. A formal ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Sept. 20 at 3:30 p.m.
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha