Maspeth High celebrates new 74th Street building
By Rebecca Henely

After a controversial first year of incubation at Queens Metropolitan High School, Maspeth HS cut the ribbon Monday on its new building.

“It’s a great school in a fantastic location,” city Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said, “and it’s serving the community and beyond the community as well.”

The new school, at 54-40 74th St. in Maspeth, currently seats 480 students and has the capacity for 1,000. It was also one of the last schools in the borough to be designated as a zoned school, meaning it gives priority to applicants from within the area.

“It’s hard to find property to even site schools,” said City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans). “This is one of the most overcrowded parts of Queens and we need to build even more high schools in this area.”

Before Maspeth High School opened with its ninth-grade class at the Metropolitan campus, parents and elected officials criticized a city Panel for Education Policy decision that they feared would allow the school to be incubated at the Forest Hills high school for more than a year.

Dmytro Fedkowskyj, a member of the PEP, said there was a lot of opposition to building the school in the beginning.

“We needed seats for our kids,” he said.

But with the school in its new home, those concerns were in the past. Walcott, Borough President Helen Marshall and many elected officials spoke about the school’s beautiful new building and the faculty’s accomplishments at the ribbon-cutting.

Some of the officials wary about the incubation now praised what the school’s principal, Khurshid Abdul-Mutakabbir, had been able to do during the incubation period.

“In a short amount of time he has shown his dedication and Maspeth HS has a greater reputation because of his dedication,” said Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).

The ceremony also featured students singing “America the Beautiful,” playing in a string orchestra, acting out a scene from William Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet” and doing a Bollywood-style dance.

“You’re here to make history,” state Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan (D-Ridgewood) said to the students. “You guys got some beautiful school to go here and you’re going to make us proud.”

Abdul-Mutakabbir said he was happy the ribbon had been cut at last on the school’s new building.

“We’re very fortunate to have such a beautiful place for our children to come every day,” Abdul-Mutakabbir said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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