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Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley
Photo courtesy of Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley
Officials broke ground on Dec. 11 on the expansion of P.S./I.S. 128 in Middle Village.

When it opened in September 2009, the four-story P.S./I.S. 128 building at the corner of 69th Place and Juniper Valley Road in Middle Village was hailed as the solution for the school’s overcrowding problems.

Less than a decade later, and there’s still not enough room to accommodate the school’s growing population. That’s about to change, as the city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) has started building a $31.8 million, four-story expansion that will add 440 new seats and other amenities for students.

The project’s launch was celebrated on Monday morning with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by SCA and Department of Education officials, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, Councilman-elect Robert Holden and representatives of the Community Education Council of District 24.

Work on the P.S./I.S. 128 expansion began in July, and the project is expected in September 2020. According to the SCA, the addition will provide 440 classroom seats for students from kindergarten through eighth grade in 18 standard classrooms.

The expansion is rising out of a portion of the P.S./I.S. 128 playground, which was built on the footprint of the original, one-story P.S. 128 building that the existing four-story structure replaced.

The P.S./I.S. 128 schoolhouse in 2016 (file photo/QNS)

The P.S./I.S. 128 schoolhouse in 2016 (file photo/QNS)

In 2015, the SCA informed Crowley of its intention to consider building a free-standing pre-K center on the playground site. Crowley, however, reached out to SCA President Lorraine Grillo and asked that the authority instead consider constructing a school expansion, noting a stark increase in the student population.

“Since opening in 2009, P.S./I.S. 128 could not contain its student population, forcing kids to use the annex across the street,” Crowley said in a December 2015 statement. As of March 2016, P.S./I.S. 128 was at 123 percent capacity, with first- and second-graders housed in the annex building across the street, which lacks a gym or a computer lab.

The SCA ultimately agreed and moved forward with the P.S./I.S. 128 expansion instead.

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