Rendering courtesy of Urbahn Architects
The $52.4 million, four-story addition to P.S. 144Q in Queens, NY will house 26 new classrooms, an outdoor play area, a cafeteria, offices and a medical suite.

Work has officially started on the long-awaited expansion of a Forest Hills public school.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz joined education officials and architects last week at P.S. 144 (the Colonel Jeromus Remsen School) for a ground-breaking ceremony launching the $52.4 million project that will create a four-story addition with 26 new classrooms and a new entrance lobby, among other amenities.

Located at 93-02 69th Ave., P.S. 144 serves 894 students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The population has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, prompting the School Construction Authority (SCA) and the Department of Education (DOE) to approve expanding the campus.

Both agencies are working with Urbahn Architects and general contractor MPCC to make the vision of a P.S. 144 extension a reality.

“The new building will accommodate 590 students and address functional deficiencies of the existing school,” said architect Martin D. Stein, Urbahn Principal and Designer. “The expansion will also eliminate the need for the currently used temporary modular, outdoor classroom facilities. The project was designed to address the school’s needs in the most cost-effective manner and to minimize the extent of renovations to the existing building, which will continue to operate during construction.”

While the new building’s exterior architecture will replicate the building’s original look, the entire addition is designed in accordance with the NYC Green Schools Guide and Rating System, which specifies energy efficiency and healthy environment requirements for New York City public schools.

The P.S. 144Q expansion will create a new ADA-compliant entrance and lobby that will serve the entire school. (Rendering courtesy of Urbahn Architects)

The P.S. 144Q expansion will create a new ADA-compliant entrance and lobby that will serve the entire school.
(Rendering courtesy of Urbahn Architects)

The addition will be adjacent to the four-floor, L-shaped original school from 1931, which sits on a 2.1-acre site. The exterior materials for the new building will be similar to those used on the original building, and are to include brick, granite cladding at the base of building, and cast stone for window sills and parapet caps.

The new building will house 26 classrooms, an outdoor pre-K and kindergarten play area, a cafeteria and kitchen, principal’s and administrative offices, and medical facilities. In addition, the project includes improvements to the existing school building, including the replacement of doorknobs with ADA-compliant door latches; ADA-related relocations and renovations of bathrooms; upgrades to an exercise room, a guidance suite, auditorium and four classrooms; and the installation of an inclined chair lift to provide accessibility to the lower area of the existing building’s third floor.

The school will also receive new ADA-compliant water fountains, all of which will feature bottle-filling stations. The project will create a new ADA-compliant entrance and lobby, as well as two new elevators. The entrance lobby will be 16 feet high with a large glass-and-metal storefront and broad open stairs to the first floor level and down to the student dining room/cafeteria level.

The cellar of the new building will house both a dining room and a kitchen. An all-new principal’s and general offices will be located on the first floor.

The first and second floors will house pre-K and kindergarten classes as well as a newly designed, dedicated early childhood playground. The third and fourth floors will provide classrooms for second- and fourth-graders, as well as several resource rooms.

Photo by Peter Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications

Photo by Peter Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications

Joining Katz at the ground-breaking were SCA President Lorraine Grillo, P.S. 144 Principal Reva Gluck Schneider, state Senator Joe Addabbo, Community Board 6 Chairperson Joseph Hennessy and representatives of the Department of Education, Urbahn Architects and MPCC.



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