BY LYNN EDMONDS
State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) announced on Friday that he was allocating $1 million to Bayside High School for restoration of their auditorium and an athletic field house.
The school’s principal, Michael Athy, said he was delighted to be getting the funds.
“The Senator knocked me out of my chair” when he let him know, Athy said. “Whenever someone calls and tells me that they’re going to be giving us a million bucks, you know, I take a walk around the block.”
Out of the $1 million, $750,000 will go to renovating the school’s aging auditorium.
The sound system rendered speech garbled and inaudible, and the seating was deteriorating, Athy said.
The auditorium fits 1,300 people. In addition to serving students, it is also regularly used by community members, with over 50 community groups making use of the campus during after school hours, Athy said.
The improvements would be an investment in the schools continued music and arts legacy, which draws students from throughout Queens.
Athy said the renovations would “provide thousand of students the opportunity to experience all aspects of performing and recording and will also provide the community with a world-class space for meetings and performances for years to come.”
Dave Solano, President of Friends of Bayside High, also welcomed the funding.
“The only thing I feel sorry for is the pigeons who can’t fly into the auditorium anymore,” he joked.
He also made a plug for the renovations to encompass a central air conditioning system, saying that on many occasions he had endured “heat, lack of air conditioning and modernization,” while attending performances.
“If we’re going to do the auditorium, let’s do it right” Avella responded.
Avella said that he liked to use his discretionary funding for schools and parks.
“We can never do enough for our schools but we can make sure that every year we chip a handful of things off that list,” he said.
The additional $250,000 will go toward renovating the athletic field houses. Improvements will include the restoration of lockers, showers, bathrooms and the exterior.
Over 100 outdoor PSAL athletic teams use the field house for athletic events each year.
Athy said he was grateful for funding that went beyond the bare necessities to actually making improvements.
“This kind of money is very hard to come by. Most of the money you see is for necessary stuff; fixing the roof, so the building doesn’t fall down,” Athy said. “The entire BHS community thanks the Senator for this outstanding contribution to our children.”
Reach Lynn Edmonds at (718) 357-7400 x127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Ellinoamerikana