Ground was officially broken on a 75,000-square-foot public school in Sunnyside last week. The new school, P.S. 313, will be located at 45-45 42nd Street and serve 430 students from kindergarten to 5th grade.
This project will cost $43 million, and should be complete by 2014. Steve Zimmerman, a Sunnyside resident and founder of two charter schools in western Queens, said that smaller schools are good for the neighborhood.
“The willingness of the Department of Education to put money into small schools is a good thing,” said Zimmerman, who is also director of the Open School Project.
At the groundbreaking, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer discussed the overcrowding issues that plague western Queens. P.S. 313 is one of five new schools in his district, adding approximately 2,000 additional seats for students.
“I am thrilled that there will be 20 new classrooms,” he said.
One unique feature of the school is a rooftop playground to give children the ability to access the outdoors with limited space.
“In a crowded neighborhood like this you have to take the sites as they come,” said Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, noting the architect was forced to design the building up, rather than out.
The facility will have a gym/auditorium, cafeteria, kitchen and administrative and medical suites. In addition to the 20 everyday classrooms, the school will also have an art and science classroom and a library.
And Sunnyside residents will be getting a new clock, which will be installed on the exterior of the school.
Mary Leas, director of External Affairs for the School Construction Authority, said that constructing a building on such a small site will be difficult, but not impossible.
“We have a good, clean site here,” she said. “We’ve worked under more difficult conditions.”
However, she admitted the location may pose an issue during construction. “We are right off Queens Boulevard,” she said, “so it might take some patience from the community.”