The students of P.S. 11 in Woodside won’t have to brave the cold in between classes for much longer thanks to a planned annex that can accommodate 350 students.
At the moment, the school is operating at 120 percent capacity forcing students into two “transportable” facilities in the courtyard.
While the new facility is still in the planning stages, Principal Ann Efkarpides said amenities such as a science room/laboratory, music and dance room, and a cafeteria are being discussed with the School Construction Authority (SCA).
Efkarpides started as a teacher at P.S. 11 and took over as principal in 2001. She said that since her first year on the job she has advocated to have the building expanded to meet the needs of the growing student population.
“We had children in the hallways being taught,” she said. “If you need to teach children and you don’t have rooms, you keep them in the hallways.”
Currently, the temporary facilities are used by pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Efkarpides said students, regardless of the weather, have to walk to the lunchroom in the main facility every day.
“The Elected officials, community members, staff and students of P.S. 11 announce the plan to build a new annex at the school is definitely a problem,” she said.
Security is also an issue. Ekfarpides said that the school does not have the authority to lock the fence, which allows random people to enter the courtyard.
“Many times we don’t have the second safety officer to look here,” she said, noting that adults are always with the students and in over a decade there has not been a specific safety issue.
Lorraine Grillo, president and CEO of the SCA, said the location will be a challenge for engineers. The school borders Doughboy Park, which is sloped, causing issues of getting construction materials to the site.
“Remember, not only are you building, but you have to have materials staged within the site,” Grillo said. “Carrying those materials on this sloped area is a challenge. It’s always a challenge, but we manage.”
The annex should be ready by the 2016 school year.