May 31, 2019 By Laura Hanrahan
The New York City School Construction Authority (SCA) broke ground yesterday on a 555-seat annex for Francis Lewis High School.
The Fresh Meadows school, located at 58-20 Utopia Pkwy., has been in desperate need of classroom space, being at 200 percent capacity, making it the most overcrowded school in the city, officials said.
The new state-of-the-art annex will include 18 classrooms as well as a culinary arts room, a science lab, a rooftop greenhouse, locker rooms and a multi-purpose room. The building will also be fully air conditioned and ADA accessible.
“Francis Lewis High School has always maintained a high-level of academic excellence despite the overcrowding conditions,” said David Marmor, principal of Francis Lewis High School. “This new annex will allow our school to have more programming flexibility along with providing our students with a 21st century learning environment.”
The annex will also feature permanent public artwork as part of the SCA’s Public Art for Public Schools program. The artwork will be hung in the multi-purpose room on the second floor of the annex, which the school plans to use as a dining space for the culinary students, as well as a gathering space for special events.
Two of the school’s four outdoor tennis courts, as well as part of the running track, will be removed in order to build the annex.
Queens schools have historically been overcrowded, averaging 108 percent capacity. The annex comes as part of the SCA’s $1.9 billion effort to address the problem by adding 18,632 new seats to Queens schools by 2020.
This line caught my attention: “Two of the school’s four outdoor tennis courts, as well as part of the running track, will be removed in order to build the annex…”
My question is, why couldn’t the running track and tennis courts be placed on top of the new structure? In fact, they could even have placed a teacher’s and employee parking lot under the new building too.