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New Sunnyside Elementary School Opens Thursday, As Pols Aim to Reduce School Overcrowding

PS 343 (Photo: QueensPost)

Sept 2, 2014 By Christian Murray

The new elementary school on 42nd Street in Sunnyside opens for the first time Thursday, which public officials and parents say was desperately needed to help combat school overcrowding.

The new school, PS 343, is a 5-story building with 430 seats for students from pre-K through 5th grade. It is located at 45-46 42nd Street (btwn Queens Blvd and 47th Avenue), which was once the home of the Sunnyside Jewish Center.

Construction started on the school in January 2013 after the School Construction Authority decided to purchase the lot at the end of 2010. Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who pointed out the site to the SCA, said at the time that while the lot is small the city has to take advantage of buying viable sites.

PS 343, which was initially called PS 313 until the name changed over summer, will cater to Pre-K, kindergarten and first grade students. The school will not be completely full with PS 343 students until the first grade students reach 5th grade.

However, for this year, many students from PS 199 will be utilizing the space, as they wait for St. Teresa’s classrooms to be revamped. Therefore, between students from PS 199 and PS 343, about 300 seats will be used.

Van Bramer said that the new seats will help alleviate school overcrowding. “I think we have more to do to end overcrowding but it is a terrific step forward,” he said. “We will have 430 students in a great school, with the resources they need.”

The school is 75,000 sqf. and features a clock tower, a play area on the roof and 20 classrooms.  It also includes a full library, art room and science facilities. Furthermore, there is a gymnatorium, which combines the auditorium space with the gym.

The principal of the new school is Sunnyside resident Brooke Barr, who is a career educator, Van Bramer said.

The school has a red-brick exterior and blends in with the existing seven-story apartment building on one side and a row of low-rise brick homes on the other.

“Building a school is one of the most significant things we can do,” Van Bramer said.”We will not only be educating our children this year but for the next 100 years.”

The school cost the city $57 million. Furthermore, it cost the life of man who died during construction when he fell down an elevator shaft.

Students who would have ordinarily gone to PS 199 are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of PS 343.

“We have 1,048 students in a building designed for 650 children,” said Anthony Inzerillo, the principal of PS199, last year at the groundbreaking. “We even use locker rooms as classrooms.”

School site pre construction (QueensPost)

Van Bramer said that he has done a great deal to help address the issue of school overcrowding in the 4 1/2 years he has been office. He said PS 343 is one of six school buildings that have been erected or are schedule to go up in the 26th council district since taking office. This, he said, equates to about 3,000 seats.

The School Construction Authority is in the midst of constructing an elementary school, PS 339, in Woodside (at 39th Avenue and 57th Street) that will cater to 470 students. It is scheduled to open in September 2015.

Meanwhile, an additional 350 seats will be added at PS 11 (54-25 Skillman Avenue) upon the completion of an annex, which is expected to be ready by Sept 2016.

Furthermore, a new building is being erected at IS 125 that will seat 600 students. That is expected to be completed by fall of 2016.

However, Van Bramer said he is looking for other school sites—particularly for a middle school in the Sunnyside/Woodside area.

He said that the School Construction Authority is currrently evaluating whether the proposed FDNY site at 39-34 43rd Street would be a viable location.

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anon- if you went to a Sunnyside School, you would have been taught to say, “Your children aren’t…”

Anyway, what’s wrong with having a school in your neighborhood? It’s part of the community- what, they should be in some remote area? These folks used to live near a community center and a vacant lot- it’s not zoned as a residential area, I like having kids and schools around. If you move to where there are no kids, it gets very lifeless. Try living in South Florida and you will see.


My son started in this school on Thursday and the staff and the building is amazing… I am pleased that my son is attending this school. I hated the overcrowding in PS 199 couldn’t come a more perfect time


Why is the school at that location? I wouldn’t want to live across the street.
Your children isn’t other people’s problem.

P.S. 11 dissed by district 24

Forget the BS on this post, Van Bremmer and others politicians should be held accountable for allowing district 24 to monopolize local available space. While P.S. 11 is in district 30 most students as middle schoolers go to 125 in district 24; which made no attempt to accommodate their future students. Typical bureaucracy impeding on children’s education


Hey SuperWitty, everything I’ve ever said pales in comparison to what others have brought to the table. Yet you zero in on my nutsack every single time.

Truth hurts doesn’t it sucka?


The tower has two clocks, one facing west and the other east, but neither has been seen working, before or after the school opened officially.


Kramden is right. saw the new school. must be a noisy living hell for the residents around there. personally, i would never in my life raise a child in this horrid city. that child would never have fresh air or quality of life here.


Reuben, I thought you were moving away? Did we start the celebration too early? I guess it doesn’t matter- everyone has learned to ignore you.


I;m so happy people are seeing that there are people on this site who are actually piss poor human beings. I have been ridiculed and mocked for speaking the truth, you people have REAL problems on here.

Now…this school is a good thing. It’s a step in the right direction, you WANT families in your hippy new Sunnyside. Now Sunnyside needs to get a middle school done and QUICK, IS125 is the worst, There’s no way i;m sending my kid with those animals. I barely survived that school when I went. It’s either that or I’m home schooling him.

Woody Woodpecker

Moved here from the Upper Westside in 2000 and this was a dying neighborhood people like us so-called Hipsters! have improved it %100 so there.


Why do ppl on this and other posts always make claims about property values decreasing? Where are the numbers? Specifically, Kramden…where’s your proof? That property value argument is the weakest one ever made up by ppl who have NIMBY syndrome!


Hi everyone. Every time I see a new post from this site, I assume there are going to be ridiculous, often off-topic, often ignorant, often offensive comments following the article. This mild article about a new school in Sunnyside doesn’t disappoint!

What is wrong with some of the people who post comments here? You don’t read your comment and think: “Whoa, my comment comes off really intense and insulting! I shouldn’t say that.”

I don’t know you all. Life really isn’t so crappy. We’ve got a super neighborhood here. I truly can’t think of another place in NYC that is better to live in. Perhaps before one of these Sunnyside Post Trolls hits “Submit Comment” next time, they will consider whether their comment adds to the positive side of life or the negative side… and hopefully they will decide that being positive is way better than being negative.

I have a suggestion for a fix for this site: require everyone to register an account with their real name and a smiley profile pic and see if that changes things.

I like this site; it provides a good service to the community: useful, usually well-written information about the goings-on in our neighborhood. Kudos to Christian Murray for organizing this. But can you change how these comments are managed? An article about a new school in our neighborhood shouldn’t have such negativity in the comments. Can you add features that let users vote down certain comments or some way to police these?

Dov Pincus

How wonderful!!!!…”We need more schools”..indeed!!!..Someone has to teach all these anchor babies English…They’ll never learn it at home! !!


Kram… Was the school built next to your house? If it wasn’t stfu. You obviously never had children. Carry on.


Great. Just what we need. More hipsters with their textbooks, chunky calculators and Etch A Sketches. I told you all this would happen but you didn’t listen to me. God I can’t wait to get out of this place and leave all you losers behind. When I see a 5 year old in his pastel coloured overalls and Gap scarf looking miserable in the foyer of my building I just LAUGH and LAUGH that he’s struggling to make rent because of all the other 5 year olds moving in. I told you this would happen. Dumb 5 year olds read something about Sunnyside in New York Magazine and they all come flocking to Queens. I WARNED ALL OF YOU!! SEE? SEE DIDN’T I?



Kramden's Delicious Marshall

Gripewater, let me guess. The school wasn’t built next to your house. I suppose the inconveniences don’t both you because it’s somebody else who has to deal with them.

Celtic Bark

Maybe they could name the school after the poor guy who lost his life helping build it. Sure beats a number.


The school will not be completely full with PS 343 students until the first grade students reach 5th grade… makes me wonder why they had to bus kids from PS11 in woodside over to Astoria??!!!!


Parents in cars? Buses? Uh… the zone for this school is like 3 blocks. And last time I checked, thriving schools bring prop values up, not down.


I feel sorry YOU, Kramden…being a miserable, child-hating, parking spot-loving, priorities-all-screwed-up loser…


I think this is great, perfect location, too. 20 MPH, max, should always be in effect- it’s crowded and there are lots of kids. Good job!

Kramden's Delicious Marshall

I feel sorry for the next door neighbors who had to put up with the construction with its noise, cranes hovering over your house, lost parking spaces.

Now they have the noisy kids to listen to, parents in cars and school buses jamming the street and a lot of them have had the sunlight blocked because of the high structure.

I’m sure their property values have taken a big hit.

Let’s build the next public school right next to Van Bramer’s house.

Skillman Ave Resident

We need a new middle school in Sunnyside. Right now all the kids from PS 150 went to new school in Hunter Point, LIC. They are too young to take subway and then walk two blocks to school. They should have a school where they can walk without using public transportation.. The vacant site would be perfect for middle school. As of now we have no public middle school in Sunnyside, IS 125 is consider to be in Woodside.


It’s great for Sunnyside. However they haven’t let the parents visit the school. My daughter is coming this school but I was given a tour of PS199 and not the new school. I don’t know if it’s still under construction or how far far are the bathrooms from the classroom. I wouldn’t want my 5 year old wondering around the school. We just haven’t been given any information on the layout of the school.


There was no Pre-K this year here, it wasn’t available as a selection for the area.
We need more schools to reduce the overcrowding in classrooms, and that vacant site FDNY wanted to get would be a great spot for a new school, considering there are many new buildings in the area and population will increase a lot soon, so where will their kids get education? It will be even more crowded and kids will continue to be displaced.

Roger B

Finally we have our parking space back ,plus we need to know how much cost the land purchase from Jewish Center .


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