School Construction Authority announces thousands of additional seats for local students during Queens Borough Board meeting

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The New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) discussed its recently completed and future projects during a meeting with the Queens Borough Board on Monday, Oct. 3. Much of the discussion at the meeting centered around alleviating concerns about overcrowding in each school district.

In total, the SCA has completed seven capacity projects in Queens over the last year. Of those seven projects, three of them were additions to the existing schools: P.S. 2 in East Elmhurst, P.S. 196 in Forest Hills and P.S. 131 in Jamaica. The other projects included P.S. 375 and the Academy of American Studies High School in Long Island City, I.S. 419 in Corona and the Francis Lewis High School annex in Fresh Meadows. In total, these projects created an additional 3,596 seats for students.

There are still 24 upcoming capital projects in the works by SCA, including 12 additions, as well as a replacement building. The additions are for P.S. 46 and P.S. 41 in Bayside; P.S. 206 in Rego Park; P.S. 96 and 160 in Jamaica; P.S. 169 in Bay Terrace; P.S. 174 in Forest Hills; P.S. 32 in Flushing; P.S. 26 and Ryan Junior High School 216 in Fresh Meadows; and P.S. 95 and P.S. 116 in Hollis. The replacement building is for P.S. 47 in Broad Channel.

The total number of seats expected to come from these projects is 4,379. Additionally, the replacement building will have 260 seats.

The other upcoming projects presented by SCA to the board included I.S. 429 in Sunnyside; the Cardozo High School annex in Bayside; P.S. 593 in Rockaway Park; P.S. 85 annex in Astoria; High School 472 in Woodside; P.S. 182 annex and High School 497 in Jamaica; P.S. 509 in Ozone Park; P.S. 388 in Bay Terrace; P.S. 340 in Flushing; and P.S. 341 in Long Island City. From this project, 8,265 seats are expected to be added, with 3,066 coming from High School 472.

According to the SCA, the process where new schools and additions are decided upon is determined in large part by data collected from demographers and statisticians to determine what areas need them most based on overcrowding. While Queens has seen the most capacity projects this year out of each borough in the city, overcrowding remains a big concern among each community board. Many community board members ended up asking for the SCA to look into expanding or adding schools in their districts as soon as possible.

With a new capital plan scheduled to be released soon, the board members requested that copies be sent to them so they can see whether or not work will be done within their districts. Queens Borough President Donovan Richards also made the point that equity should be taken into account by the SCA when determining which districts to prioritize.

“For some [school districts], I think it’s an equity issue,” Richards said. “We should remove the politics from the issue and look at it through an equity lens. We’re getting more seats than the other boroughs, but Queens is busting at the seams.”