ASTORIA — Queens Library officials celebrated the opening of a new pre-k program in Ravenswood Friday, after officials rushed to fund and finish renovations at the site in time for the new school year.
The new universal pre-k is located at a family literacy center on the NYCHA campus for the Ravenswood Houses at 35-41st St.
Queens Library was approved by the city last year to run the program — the first in the country to be managed by a library system — but it almost didn't open on time due to a lack of funding, officials said.
Queens Borough President Melinda Katz provided $250,000 in emergency funds in May to finish renovations of the building in order for classes to open in time for the fall. Mayor Bill de Blasio gave additional funding, as did the Edith Glick Shoolman Children's Foundation.
"At the end of the day, everyone here today was determined to get this done as efficiently as possible so that the kids in this community could have access to a great UPK program," Katz said in a statement.
So far, only seven children are enrolled at the site, which has the capacity to serve up to 36 kids. Officials are still recruiting applicants for the free program and are urging interested parents to register.
The program is the second universal pre-school that Queens Library runs, with another that opened at its Woodhaven branch last year.
"Queens Library's pre-kindergarten is a natural extension of our mission to provide impactful, lifelong learning resources," Bridget Quinn-Carey, Queens Library's interim president said.
"The new UPK site at Ravenswood is an opportunity for young learners to gain the skills they need to succeed in school, wrapped in an atmosphere of reading and literacy."
Parents interested in learning more about the new pre-k can call (347) 592-7792.