Overcrowded P.S. 70 Getting 500 New Seats And Gym

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska on October 25, 2012 6:04pm 

QUEENS — An Astoria school that has used portable classrooms and a mini school in the past to deal with overcrowding is getting a new building which will give it 500 additional seats.

On Thursday morning, elected officials broke ground for the new addition to P.S. 70 on 42nd Street which is scheduled to be completed in September 2014.

The five-story building will be fully air conditioned and will have 24 classrooms for Pre-K and second grade students. There will also be a music room, art room and a gym.

“This school [currently] does not have a gymnasium,” noted councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) who has been working on the school expansion since he was elected, he said.

“This is going to be a tremendous thing for the kids of this neighborhood,” he noted.

The addition will expand the existing building by roughly 60,000 square feet, increasing the school’s capacity by 508 seats. Currently more than 1,000 students (Pre-K through 5) study at P.S. 70.

The new building will be built where the mini school had been.

Once it’s built the trailers will be taken away, said P.S. 70 Principal Donna Geller, who added that at some point students were attending classes in three locations — the main one, the mini school and the portable classroom units — which was difficult to manage.

The new addition will be connected to the old building and all the floors will line up.

Geller also said that the entrance will feature the word “welcome” written in about 50 languages which are used by the students at P.S. 70.

Jeffrey Guyton, member of the Community Education Council in District 30 said the new addition “is fantastic news,” noting that a small number of seats for pre-K and kindergarden children is one of the biggest concerns in the district.

“The population is booming, and they are young families,” he said. “Population growth is staying ahead of our construction by about one big school."

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