Construction for the 600-foot addition to the school, which would replace decades-old trailers and a temporary mini-school at the rear of the building, could begin as early as this summer, making it the sixth new school or annex project in the community in the last four years.
Lorraine Grillo, president of the School Construction Authority, recalled being assigned to I.S. 125 when she first took the job nearly 20 years ago.
“When I visited, these transportables and that mini-building were old then,“ Grillo said at a press conference last week. “I’m so happy to replace those with a brand new, state-of-the-art addition for these children.”
Over 200 students currently file into a series of old wooden and red metal trailers for class in the rear of the building, which is operating at 123 percent capacity.
Principal Judy Lynn Mittler said she was relieved, as she has been anticipating an expansion since she first became principal 15 years ago.
“These are supposedly temporary buildings,” Mittler said. “You can’t have a three-decade temporary.”
One issue with the current trailer system, holding over 200 children every day and hosting eight classes, are the current fire codes that prohibit the school from locking outdoor gates.
“There was one gentleman walking his dog back and forth, and you can’t have that,” Mittler recalled. “This is still my school.”
She added that while thankfully nothing has happened to her students over the years, she was worried about the durability and structure of the trailer system.
“God forbid, but they’re very thin, and we have to be realistic, if somebody wants to shoot something, it doesn’t matter, they’re going to go right through these things,” she said. “It’s a strange world, and it’s a dangerous world and I’m always concerned about the safety and security of my children.”
State Senator Michael Gianaris recently toured the school with Community Board 2 chair Joseph Conley, and recalled watching classes full of kids run through the rain to get from the trailers to the main building.
“This is obviously a situation that is not acceptable as we try to give our kids a state-of-the-art learning environment,” Gianaris said. “The fact that this school scored an ‘A,’ dealing with the facility overcrowding that they have is a testament to the teachers, the administrators and most of all the kids.”