Nov. 22, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
The School Construction Authority (SCA) has announced plans to build a new 547-seat elementary school in the Court Square section of Long Island City.
The SCA is set to acquire a 5-story office building, located at 23-10 43rd Ave., and then demolish it before constructing the new school in its place.
The building was previously occupied by Sungard Availability Services, an IT production and recovery services company, and sits on a 0.49-acre lot. The SCA did not disclose how much it paid for the site.
The prospective new school will serve Pre-K through grade 5 students — and is being built to meet the area’s growing need for extra seat capacity, the SCA said.
The new school is anticipated to have a kitchen/cafeteria, a gymnatorium, a library and spaces for music and art. The school is also expected to be able to cater to students with special needs.
The plans were announced at a press briefing outside the building Monday. SCA CEO Nina Kubota, Councilmember Julie Won and Council Speaker Adrienne Adams were among those in attendance. Representatives of the District 30 Community Education Council and Court Square Civic Association were also present.
Kubota said the site was chosen after an extensive multi-year process and after advocacy from local leaders. The SCA constructs new schools and modernizes current ones for the Dept. of Education.
“This proposed site acquisition will fulfill a long-standing commitment to the Court Square community,” Kubota said.
“A special thanks should go to our elected officials who supported our Capital Plan to fund this vital project and to area stakeholders who fought hard to make this school a reality.”
The SCA will present its plans to Community Board 2 and Community Education Council 30 later this year to solicit public comments, the agency said.
A timeline for completion will depend on a variety of factors including the length of time the plans take to go through the public review process, approval by the City Council, and the demolition of the existing building, the SCA said.
The need for additional school seats in Court Square is driven by the neighborhood’s rapid population increase over the past two decades, the SCA said. The area was re-zoned in 2001 sparking a wave of new high-rise apartments being built.
Assemblymember Catherine Nolan said in a statement that she was very happy to hear of the announcement.
“As Long Island City continues to grow and more families commit to making Court Square a vibrant community, the addition of 547 elementary school seats is a critical component in its success,” Nolan said.
“The new school will create a true education hub in Western Queens – with Information Technology High School as a neighbor and CUNY School of Law and LaGuardia Community College a short walk away. My deep gratitude to Court Square Civic Association, Gantry Parent Association, the various PTA and community parent groups and the District 30 Community Education Council for their work and advocacy.”
Won echoed Nolan’s sentiments and said that the new school will bring about a much-needed increase in school capacity.
“More than 3,000 school-aged children living in the area will now be able to walk to school within their own neighborhood and receive the quality education they deserve,” Won said.
“We thank the community for their patience and their advocacy to continue pushing for this school to be built, as promised since 2018.”
Meanwhile, Adams said Long Island City has become one of the fastest-growing neighborhoods in the entire country and needs educational infrastructure to serve its families.
“The announcement… fulfills a vision of intentional planning for Long Island City and represents an important investment for the residents of this neighborhood,” Adams said.