2007-06-27 / Health Care

Gateway Health Sciences School OK'd For Hillcrest

Recently the City Council approved the former site of a morgue at Queens Hospital Center for development of the Gateway to Health Sciences School. The new $70 million school for grades 7-12 will be built on the hospital campus to replace the overcrowded Gateway School in Jamaica, a Department of Education (DOE) spokesperson said.

Students at the new school will focus on careers in the health and hospital fields and will benefit from shared space with the Queens Hospital Center.

The council's approval of the site for use as a school hit a recent deadlock when City Councilmember James Gennaro and David Weprin voiced their concern over environmental issues. The councilmembers were troubled that exposure to gasoline and formaldehyde in the ground could lead to health issues for students. They also felt that increased traffic would have a deleterious impact on the surrounding community, which already suffers from too many cars and too few parking spaces.

Gennaro is credited with developing a plan both sides could agree on which calls for environmental cleanup and continued monitoring of the site, along with the 50 parking spaces in the hospital's parking lot for use by school staffers. Enrollment at the new school will be capped at 800 students.

"It is very gratifying that we have been able to overcome concerns expressed by the community, the community board, and the city council to pave the way for construction of this new school," Gennaro said.

- Liz Goff

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