August 31, by Nathaly Pesantez
The beaten up trailers that used to litter the grounds at two local schools are finally being removed, replaced by state-of-the art buildings.
PS11 in Woodside and IS 125 at the Sunnyside/Woodside border will open their doors next week with new buildings, resulting in the removal of the outdated trailers that used to pock their school yards.
Both will now both be able to accommodate hundreds more students that will help address overcrowding at the schools, an issue that was temporarily subdued through the use of trailers over several decades.
A new $92 million annex has been built at P.S.11, the elementary school at 54-25 Skillman Avenue, that will seat 350 students, according to Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer. The annex replaces as many as 10 trailers that used to seat about 220 kindergarten and first-grade students. The annex will also provide additional classroom space for students in all grade levels—from kindergarten to the sixth grade—according to a spokesperson at the school.
The old trailers were at times hazardous, with reports of ceiling tiles falling on children and a P.S. 11 staff member falling through the trailer floor.
The trailers were finally ripped out earlier this month and the space that they occupied will be turned into a school yard with a play area and a soccer field, according to Van Bramer.
IS 125, the middle school at 46-02 47th Ave., will seat 600 students in a large building built at the rear of the school after a massive construction project completed in time for the new school year in September—one year earlier than anticipated. The additional building, which includes a cafeteria and gym along with a multitude of classrooms, cost $82 million to build, Van Bramer said.
Trailers at the middle school, which were built close to twenty years ago, will also be removed soon.
“These two additions have been long sought after. I’m really proud to have worked with all the people involved to make sure that these buildings were built,” Van Bramer, who toured the schools, said. “This is an incredible moment for our community. I’m really proud of this moment.”
At a rally in 2012, Van Bramer and neighborhood parents called on the city to build an annex at P.S.11, noting that school had been plagued with overcrowding issues for two decades. Plans for an annex were first revealed by the School Construction Authority (SCA) months after the 2012 rally. At the time, there were 1,350 students and the school was at 126 percent capacity, education officials said.
Expansion plans for IS 125, meanwhile, were revealed in 2014, when the school was at 123 percent capacity, and more than 200 students were housed in outdoor portables.
In addition to the new buildings at those schools, the neighborhood can also expect a new middle school at 48th Street and Barnett Avenue in 2019 or 2020. Plans for the school are still in the works, with focus currently on its design and logistics, according to Van Bramer.
Meanwhile, several schools are expected to arrive at the Long Island City waterfront in coming years. In Court Square, a new universal Pre-K center will open for the school year starting in September.