By Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech
Construction has started on the Academy of American Studies’ new home which will be right across the street from its current location at 28-04 41st Ave., Long Island City.
The Academy of American Studies currently shares space with Newcomers High School, located across the street. The new building will be located at 28-04 41st Avenue in what is currently the parking lot of Newcomers. The new four-story building will house 969 students and include a visual art room, music room, science labs and a medical suite, according to the Department of Education. Currently, there are about 909 students enrolled at Newcomers High School and 1,008 enrolled at the Academy of American Studies.
“Since we opened the school we’ve been looking for a new building,” said Patricia McLoughlin, a school aid at the Academy of American Studies.
Overcrowding has been a chronic problem in New York City schools with the problem projected to only worsen in Long Island City with the arrival of Amazon in 2019, according to reporting from Gotham Gazette. According to the housing start data posted by the School Construction Authority, it is estimated between 2018-2024 that 19,703 residential units to be built in Queens’ School District 30, where the Academy of American Studies and Newcomers High School are both located.
According to the Department of Education’s formula used to determine how much school enrollment growth this influx of residents will generate, there will be a need for 4,000 additional elementary and middle school seats. The proposed five-year capital plan for 2020-2024 includes only 1,012 for the district.
In the proposed five-year plan there are fewer than 1,000 high school seats for the borough. The housing start data alone would generate the need for about 5,000 additional high school students.
” One of the greatest needs in our community is having enough school seats for our kids and today’s announcement is good news on that front,” said Senator Michael Gianaris, who attended the new facility’s ground-breaking ceremony on Monday Dec.3. Others in attendance included State Senator Jessica Ramos, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo, Queens Community Board 1 Chair Marie Torniali, Queens Community Board 2 Chair Principle William Bassell and a handful of students.
Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2021 with the new school’s first student’s set to occupy the building in September of that year.