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Rendering and photo courtesy of the New York City School Construction Authority
Rendering of the annex at Benjamin Cardozo High School

Construction has begun on a new annex at a Bayside high school, which the New York City School Construction Authority says will help quell school congestion.

The city agency unveiled details for the three-story 795-seat annex at Benjamin Cardozo High School as part of a borough-wide plan to create nearly 5,000 additional high school seats. The SCA staff designed the annex and Arnell Construction Corp. broke ground on the $47.8 million project in August 2019.

Cardozo is at 149 percent capacity with over 3,700 students currently enrolled in grades 9 through 12. The new annex will have 25 additional classrooms, two special education classrooms and will be fully accessible and air-conditioned. It will also feature a teacher’s workroom and supervisory offices on each floor.

Once complete, the annex is slated to open in September 2022. According to Lorraine Grillo, president and Chief Executive Officer of the SCA, the new annex along with the one under construction at Francis Lewis High School is part of the agency’s efforts to create over 5,300 Queens high school seats by 2023.

“Cardozo is one of several schools built in eastern Queens in the 1960s that are now bursting at the seams, and now is the time to meet the increasing demand for seats as our communities continue to grow and prosper. This annex will help Cardozo faculty and staff provide a high-quality education to all of the school’s students,” said Grillo.

Other features at Cardozo’s planned annex include a STEM lab, science preparation room, robotics lab, mock courtroom, media center and production room, three locker rooms for athletic field use, bicycle storage and shower and changing rooms.

As part of SCA’s Public Art for Public Schools program, a commissioned artist will create a site-specific piece for the annex’s lobby.

“Knowing that Benjamin N. Cardozo High School students have suffered with overcrowding for decades, I suggested that the School Construction Authority look at adding seats, and I am so pleased that the agency found a perfect spot for the expansion,” said Councilman Barry Grodenchik. “Today’s groundbreaking is a watershed win for the school and its students; with the new state-of-the-art annex, one of New York City’s best public high schools is about to get even better.”

The New York State Legislature formed the SCA in 1988 to “design and construct safe, attractive and environmentally sound public schools” for DOE students. Since its inception, the agency has provided over 265,000 new school seats, not including Temporary Classroom Units (TCUs) and opened the largest free Universal Pre-K (UPK) network with almost 8,800 seats.

In addition, the SCA has completed over 12,500 capital improvement projects that have repaired and upgraded over 1,800 schools in over 1,400 buildings.

“Cardozo High School has set a standard of excellence and success for years. It is important that we do all we can to support our top-performing schools, alleviate overcrowding, and invest in our schools for their continued success,” said Assemblyman David Weprin. “I am glad to partner with my colleagues in the city and state to break ground on this state-of-the-art annex which will serve our community for years to come.”

For information on this and other projects, visit www.nycsca.org.

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