City officials break ground on massive new Northern Boulevard High School in Woodside

Western Queens leaders join city officials for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Northern Boulevard High School in Woodside. (Photo courtesy of SCA)

As real estate development exploded across western Queens for more than a decade, essential infrastructure improvements have lagged far behind the needs of its growing population.

On Wednesday, Dec. 8, the School Construction Authority broke ground on the massive state-of-the-art, 3,066-seat Northern Boulevard High School in Woodside, which will be the largest facility ever constructed by the SCA.

“This school represents our mission to invest in New York City’s future, continuing to create the school buildings that our students need and deserve,” SCA President and CEO Nina Kubota said. “Today’s groundbreaking marks the next step in bringing thousands of new seats to Queens working with all of our partners to provide the infrastructure critical to the success of our students.”

Construction is underway on the huge lot at Northern Boulevard and 54th Street, which was the location of an old Sports Authority store and most recently hosted one of the city’s COVID-19 testing hubs.

The new, six-story school building will be a fully air-conditioned, accessible facility and will contain 94 regular classrooms, six resource rooms, a 55-seat auditorium, a library, a full kitchen complex with two student dining areas, as well as a competition-sized gymnasium with bleachers and locker rooms.

“I am thrilled to break ground on the new Northern Boulevard High School, which will make a significant dent in the school overcrowding situation here in Queens,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “Every child in our borough deserves a quality education, and more quality schools should be something we all strive for.”

The new building will house three high schools, including a District 75 program providing instructional support for students with special needs.

Rendering of Northern Boulevard High School exterior (Photo courtesy of SCA)

When he was first elected in 2009, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer used to drive around his district looking for potential sites for new schools. As he finishes his last term as councilman, his list of accomplishments includes 15 new schools that have been funded, built or started bringing more than 10,000 new seats to District 26.

“The groundbreaking for the Northern Boulevard H.S. is a momentous occasion,” Van Bramer said. “At a time when many of New York City’s schools are over capacity, the inclusion of three high schools and seats for more than 3,000 students, including a program for students with specialized needs, is a welcome addition, not only for Woodside but New York City as a whole.”

The school is expected to open at the start of the 2025-2026 school year.

“One of the biggest issues we are facing in education is rising class sizes,” Assemblyman Brian Barnwell said. “We have been advocating for new school construction that will help lower the student-to-teacher ratio for classes. Today, we make a big stride in lowering class sizes for our students by the beginning of construction on this new high school.”

Outgoing Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter took part in the groundbreaking ceremony and said the new facility will help the DOE and SCA bring more than 6,200 seats to borough schools by 2026.

“This historic project will bring thousands of new seats to Queens and provide students with state-of-the-art facilities where they can learn, grow and thrive,” Porter said. “Thank you to our partners at the School Construction Authority, community leaders and local Queens families for helping us bring Northern Boulevard High School to life.”