Francis Lewis High School students will return to a new annex on the Fresh Meadows campus just in time for the new school year beginning on Thursday, Sept. 8.
Councilwoman Sandra Ung joined Francis Lewis High School Principal David Marmor for a tour of the new annex on the campus, located at 58-20 Utopia Pkwy.
“The opening of this annex means that we will no longer be the most overcrowded school in the city,” Marmor said. “We have the same amount of students; we just have more space. This building means a tremendous amount to Francis Lewis High School, but it also means a tremendous amount to Queens.”
Francis Lewis High School has approximately 4,400 students, making it one of the two largest high schools in the city. It is also the most overcrowded at 200% capacity. With the new annex, that percentage will drop to around 160%.
Despite its size, Francis Lewis High School receives more applications from eighth-graders every year than any other school in the five boroughs.
The School Construction Authority and Department of Education officials held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new annex in May of 2019. It will be used by students for the first time when the school year begins on Thursday, Sept. 8.
One of the highlights is a state-of-the-art space meant to replicate the layout of a working commercial kitchen, down to the dishwashing station. It will be used by Chef Neil Siam and his students in the culinary arts program. Some of the food they will cook will be harvested from a hydroponic greenhouse — complete with a tilapia farm — on the top floor of the annex. Down the hall from the greenhouse is a new science lab with space devoted to hydroponic farming research.
According to Ung, the opening of the annex will add desperately needed classroom seats to one of the most sought-after schools in Queens.
“Not only will this new annex help alleviate some of the severe overcrowding, but will also offer students access to state-of-the-art classrooms that will enhance the already quality education provided at Francis Lewis High School. I am excited for Principal Marmor and for the students to finally start benefiting from this new space,” Ung said.