Jan. 7, 2014 By Christian Murray
Woodside’s middle school IS 125 is about to undergo a major expansion.
The School Construction Authority has budgeted $50 million to create a 600-seat addition, which will include a cafeteria, gym and several classrooms at the 46-02 47th Avenue school.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been advocating for the expansion for some time, said the addition was needed since the school is at 123% capacity and more than 200 students are currently housed in temporary classroom units that were built more than 16 years ago. He said many of those units are in poor condition.
Furthermore, Van Bramer said, students who attend classes in the portable units have to walk back and forth from the portable classrooms to the main building several times a day in all types of weather. Additionally, there is a lack of security in the school yard, where the temporary classrooms are located.
With booming numbers, lunch period is also not easy to schedule. The first lunch period starts at 11am with the last period at 2 pm.
“We have been working with IS 125 on their needs and I toured the school with Principal [IS 125] Mittler two months ago and promised her I would do everything I could to secure the extension,” Van Bramer said. “I pleaded to the School Construction Authority and [School] Chancellor to get this as soon as possible.”
Van Bramer said that construction could begin as early as this year and it might only take a year to complete. He said the expansion will go up where the existing mini building is today—and that in time the temporary classroom units will be removed from the yard.
Despite the overcrowding problems, the school has fared well. It earned an “A” grade in the Department of Education’s 2013 Progress Report.
NOTE: There will be a press conference at the school this Friday at 1 pm, where further details will be provided.