2015-08-19 / Features

New Approval For School At White Castle Site

By Liz Goff
City and local officials are close to signing off on a proposal to build a new public school on a site in Jackson Heights that was formerly occupied by the founders of the original “belly bomb.”

The City Council Subcommittee on Landmarks, Public Siting and Maritime Uses and the Council Landmark Committee last week approves a proposal by the NYC School Construction Authority (SDA) for development of a 450-seat primary school at the former White Castle Regional Office site on 34th Avenue in Jackson Heights.

SCA officials said there is currently no design or bid for the project. The typical cost of building a new school is $100,000 per seat, with an estimated cost of approximately $45 million, SCA officials said. That $45 million price tag is on top of $6.3 million needed to purchase the site, SCA officials said.

Lawmakers warned that the estimated cost of the new school could increase, based on design or construction changes.

The existing former office building located on the 20,000-sauare-foot parcel would have to be demolished to make way for the new development, SCA officials said. The project cannot move forward until the public has an opportunity for public comment the plan and it is obtains approval by the full City Council.

Commmunity Board 3 in Jackson Heights voted in May to approve the new school to help alleviate overcrowding in the area. The District 30 Community School Board Education Council has not offered a written recommendation on the project.

The school could open in September 2019, barring construction or other municipal delays, SCA officials said.

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