2008-06-11 / Features

School Dist. 24 To Get 5 New Schools

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

As the 2007-08 school year draws to a close, the city's $13.6 billion, five-year capital building plan for schools has one more year to go. "I can tell you that in September, 17 new schools will open citywide, six in Queens," said Mary Leas.

Speaking on behalf of the School Construction Authority (SCA) at the June 3 meeting of Community Board 4 in Corona, Leas said three new high schools, a new elementary school and a new early childhood center will open in District 24 when school starts next year.

"We are very close to identifying all seats for District 24 in the current fiveyear capital plan," Leas said. "We're spending very aggressively to relieve overcrowding." The 2008-09 school year is the last year of the 5-year capital plan.

The new Elmhurst Educational Complex, located at 45-109 94th St., will house about 1,600 high school students in a converted four-story factory formerly known as the Arts and Leather building.

P.S. 260 will also open in September as a new elementary school (pre-K through grade 5) for 996 students on the south side of Roosevelt Avenue between 99th and 100th Streets in Corona. P.S. 260 is geared to help relieve overcrowding at nearby P.S. 19.

P.S. 245, an Early Childhood Center for pre-K through grade 3 students with 441 seats, will also open in the fall on Seneca Avenue in Ridgewood.

In addition, Leas said, ground has been broken for a new addition to P.S. 102, located at 55-24 Van Horn St. The addition will allow the school to become an intermediate school as well as a primary school (grades K through 8).

"This is a very big addition," said Leas, noting the difficulty SCA generally has finding new sites for intermediate level schools.

P.S. 13, located at 55-01 94th St., has also been awarded a new addition. Current enrollment at the K through Grade 5 elementary school is 1,284.

Leas said more than $140 million has been allocated for these projects by SCA. Leas said work is also slated for P.S. 89, located at 85-28 Britton Ave. and Newtown H.S.

Newtown is going to undergo an exterior modernization project. "It's a historic building with beautiful detail," said Leas.

Within the Elmhurst Educational Complex, there will be a selective high school, a high school for English language learners, a regular high school and a high school for transfer students.

Bard High School Early College II is a selective high school, enrolling only students who have demonstrated high academic achievement. The Pan American International High School I will enroll students who are English Language Learners (ELL), the Civic Leadership Academy is for students in grades 9 through 12 (beginning in September with grade 9) and Voyages Preparatory High School is exclusively for students who are at least two years behind; i.e., over-age and under-credited.

Historically, District 24 has been overcrowded. For the 2003-04 school year, primary schools in District 24 operated at 102 percent of capacity and intermediate schools at 95 percent.

P.S. 19, located at 98-02 Roosevelt Ave., with an enrollment of almost 2,000, operates at 106 percent of capacity. "P.S. 19 still has the distinction of being the most overcrowded school in the most overcrowded district," said Leas.

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