Sept. 7, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
The high school the city is eyeing for the former Sports Authority site on Northern Boulevard is now larger than originally planned, with 2,500 seats and a larger lot to boast.
The School Construction Authority spoke to the proposed site selection of a new high school at the corner of Northern Boulevard and 54th Street during last night’s Community Board 2 meeting.
The SCA had originally planned for a 1,016-seat school on part of the large site . However, following recent negotiations with the property owner, the agency has put forward a larger plan for the location.
“After years of our trying to acquire a site, we finally got a deal on the table with this owner, and he has agreed to sell it to us,” said Michael Mirisola, director of external affairs for the SCA.
The original plans, according to Kathy Murphy, SCA director of real estate services, called for the high school to be part of a development at the site.
“We were going to be part of a larger development, so hence the smaller site,” Murphy told the Sunnyside Post, adding, “Now we’ve convinced them to sell us the whole site, so that’s an opportunity for us to add more seats.”
The site currently spans 136,895 square feet, and goes from the former Sports Authority building, now the offices of a used car dealership, and into the entire parking lot for the business.
The current property owners are listed as Pine Tree Realty Corp.
Details on the proposed high school are sparse, as the SCA first needs to receive input from Community Board 2 before going to the City Council for approval of the site. From there, it will acquire the property and design the school before going into development.
“Once we have the site and we sit down and figure out exactly what we’re going to build here, we’ll come out with an occupancy date,” Mirisola said.
The number of seats, for example, could change, and more than one school organization could occupy the large school building.
“It’s not going to be one school,” Mirisola said. “It could be two, it could be three. There might also be a District 75 (special education) portion.”
He said there will only be one school building, however, as the SCA would like to build a ground-level space for the students at the site.
Mirisola added that the practice of putting more than one school organization in a building is a common way to maximize the use of space.
“That’s for our colleagues in the DOE to decide,” he said.
The high school is anticipated to open in 2023. It is unclear if the estimated cost to build the school ($112 million, based on previously-filed SCA budget documents) will change.
Comments on the proposed school site can be submitted to the New York City School Construction Authority by e-mail or post until Oct. 15, 2018. E-mails can be sent to [email protected]. Mail can be sent to:
New York City School Construction Authority
30-30 Thomson Ave.
Long Island City, New York 11101
ATT: Ross J. Holden