Sept. 8, 2016 By Christian Murray
The School Construction Authority has entered into an agreement to buy a property on 48th Street that once housed a pool hall and gymnasium in order to construct a middle school.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that the school would provide hundreds of middle school students with seats, although he said it was too early to provide specifics. Education sources say the number of seats could be as many as 800.
Van Bramer said that the current owners of the 38-04 48th Street property have agreed to sell the property. They were initially reluctant to sell, he said, wanting to keep the property for investments purposes.
“I would expect that the community would be thrilled that an abandoned eyesore will be transformed into a beautiful state-of-the-art, desperately-needed middle school,” Van Bramer said. “It’s a huge victory for everyone.”
He said that the construction of a new school is a much better outcome than, say, the property being rented out to a noisy club.
Deborah Alexander, co-president of the Community Education Council 30, said that the School Construction Authority had been looking for a site for some time.
She said that residents Deborah and Sean McGowan played a key role in bringing much needed attention to the lack of middle school seats in District 30, which covers sections of Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City, Astoria, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona.
“They have done so much and they never gave up,” Alexander said, whether it be holding rallies, starting petition drives or calling the SCA themselves. They also formed the Sunnyside Woodside Middle School Project, the group that propelled the movement.
“They showed what a difference two people can make.”