NYC School Construction Authority (SCA) officials were joined by elected officials, educators and community leaders on Monday, March 20, to celebrate the construction of a new state-of-the-art 399-seat addition for P.S. 29 in Fresh Meadows.
SCA President and CEO Nina Kubota, along with P.S. 26 Principal Andrew Pecorella and P.S. 224 Principal Jamie Allen, CEC representatives, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., Assemblywoman Nily Rozic and Councilwoman Linda Lee gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony outside of P.S. 26 Rufus King School, located at 195-02 69th Ave.
The four-story addition will be a fully air-conditioned, accessible facility for pre-K through grade 5 students. It will contain two pre-K and six kindergarten classrooms, eight standard classrooms and four special education classrooms.
The addition will include two reading and speech resource rooms and a science resource room. Some classrooms in the existing building will also be renovated to add 24 new District 75 seats. Other amenities at the school will include an art classroom; a full kitchen complex; a student dining area; a guidance suite; a staff workroom; parent/community room; bicycle garage; an exercise room; and an outdoor playground.
Kubota said that the 399 seats coming to P.S. 26Q is only a fraction of the seats they’re adding to District 26 as part of SCA’s 2020-2024 Capital Plan.
“This project is emblematic of our collaborative efforts and ongoing commitment to reduce overcrowding and provide students with world-class educational facilities so that they can grow, learn and thrive,” Kubota said. “As a result of our strong partnerships with the mayor, City Council and our other local elected leaders, we’re setting the bar for a strong academic foundation and nurturing learning environments for our kids.”
The SCA’s 2020-2024 Capital Program includes more than $2 billion in funding for 32 buildings, adding 18,735 seats in Queens. In District 26, the SCA is adding more than 2,300 seats including a 435-seat addition at P.S. 46 that will open later this year and a 473-seat addition at P.S. 41 that is slated for completion in 2024.
A $59.9 million contract was awarded to Navillus Tile Inc. for the new addition, which was designed through a collaboration with the SCA and DiDomenico & Partners, LLP. As part of the SCA’s Public Art for Public Schools program, artist Daru Jung Hyang Kim has been commissioned to create site-specific artwork inside the lobby of the new addition.
Rozic and Lee, along with Congresswoman Grace Meng and Senator John Liu, said they look forward to the project’s completion in 2025 that will help to alleviate overcrowding in District 26 schools.
Rozic said that the much-needed expansions of existing public schools is vital to the lasting success of students.
“The addition of 399 seats, the creation of specialty classrooms, a fully accessible building (inside and out) and improvements to the existing building will allow students and faculty at Rufus King P.S. 26 to continue reaching new heights and ease the existing pressures that the building and school community were experiencing,” Rozic said.
Lee thanked the SCA for prioritizing the well-being of the students, as they continue to fulfill their vision of advancing the educational infrastructure of the schools and communities in eastern Queens.
“Investing in a brighter future for our city’s next generation means providing our children with all the possible tools for educational success inside and outside of the classroom,” Lee said.
Meng congratulated the P.S. 26 school community on the new addition.
“This addition will go a long way toward reducing overcrowding by providing much-needed new seats for current and future students of P.S. 26. Its new and modern classrooms and many amenities will provide an improved learning environment for children,” Meng said. “Our students are our future. We must make the investments they need to ensure success and a bright future. I look forward to the project’s completion.”
The expansion at the Rufus King School will bring the building into ADA compliance, add 399 seats of desperately needed instructional space and improve the existing ground, according to Liu.
“As with all construction, there have been temporary inconveniences for the community, but the enhanced school facility and forthcoming improved amenities for the beloved Farm Playground will be worth the wait,” Liu said.
Richards said he is excited for what the future holds for the students who will benefit from the project, and is looking forward to the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“There should be no higher priority for us as a city than ensuring our children receive the highest-quality education possible right in their own communities,” Richards said. “This expansion and improvement project at P.S. 26 will help us realize that mission, while also adding 399 much-needed seats to our borough’s school system.”