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Sunnyside’s PS 2 waits a decade for new gym

Children from PS 78 sing holiday songs before the CDEC 30 meeting. Photo by Rebecca Henely
TimesLedger Newspapers

A Sunnyside school is set to expand, but members of Community District Education Council 30 were upset that a long-awaited and much begged-for auditorium for Astoria’s PS 2 is not in the city School Construction Authority’s five-year plan.

“It’s been more than 10 years and they’ve been waiting for an auditorium,” CDEC 30 Councilman Marius Titus said.

Monica Gutierrez and Gordon Tung, of the SCA, spoke to the council at its monthly meeting last Thursday at PS 78, at 48-09 Center Blvd. in Long Island City, about the updates to the 2010-14 Capital Plan for the district.

CDEC 30 encompasses Astoria, Long Island City, East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights and a large part of Woodside. It is one of the city’s most crowded school districts and, while many schools are being phased in or built throughout the district in the coming years, the SCA and council are trying to find more sites for schools and more funding for seats.

In presenting amendments to the plan, Gutierrez said 931 new seats across Queens have been funded and $290 million more has been allocated to the borough to mediate destruction from Superstorm Sandy. In the district, 256 seats have been funded for a school in the Woodside or Sunnyside area and 248 seats have been funded for a school in the East Elmhurst or Jackson Heights area, but neither have sites. The district needs sites and funding for an addition 624 seats.

Gutierrez also said that in 2016, PS 11, at 54-25 Skillman Ave. in Sunnyside, will receive an addition that will include 350 seats.

Jeffrey Guyton, co-president of CDEC 30, said he was glad to hear that PS 11 would get its addition, but was frustrated that PS 2 was not considered for a capital project. The school, at 75-10 21st Ave. in Astoria, was created for a small community and does not have an auditorium. The school uses a multi-purpose room for its cafeteria, as well.

He said despite listing an addition for PS 2 as the council’s top priority for years, the request goes unfulfilled.

“We don’t do very well, quite honestly,” Guyton said.

Last year many parents and children from PS 2 attended CDEC 30’s meeting on the five-year plan to demand an addition.

“I just feel very sad for them,” CDEC 30 Councilwoman Jennifer Harper said. “They’ve had the PTA come to our meetings and plead with them.”

When the SCA representatives said the agency does assessments that can create its own internal criteria and list of what is a priority, CDEC 30 Councilwoman Michele Norris said she hoped the SCA could share that information with the CDECs in future decision-making, which could lead to greater cooperation.

“Positive feedback’s nice for everyone,” she said.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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