BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ
Imagine being hoarded into a trailer with 32 students in 30 degree weather. Then, picture sitting in a cold seat for eight hours with the expectation of learning and completing class work.
This is a scenario that more than 600 first graders at Corona’s PS 143— and other schoolchildren throughout the five boroughs— face every day.
To alleviate some of that burden for the elementary students at PS 143, state Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Elmhurst) announced on Wednesday that a new, five-story state-of-the-art building would replace the current mini building and six school trailers stationed at the school.
“As you know, school overcrowding in this community is not new,” Peralta said. “Unfortunately, this has been the case for many years. This project is going to deliver results for us. This project is a victory for kids in Corona.”
Two years ago Peralta stood in front of the school trailers at PS 143 and called for the construction of a permanent addition. Previously, the senator had approached then-Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott with the idea for the proposal.
PS 143 was originally built to accommodate approximately 900 students, but today has about 1,800 students enrolled, with one third of them sitting in rundown trailers, a mini-building and an annex on 98th Street. The new building would have a capacity for 980 students, new science laboratories, art and music rooms and a large cafeteria.
“Almost 1,000 new seats to replace the mini building and the rundown trailers will help our students learn in the environment they deserve,” Peralta said. “It will give them a better opportunity to succeed.”
The design of the new building was created through a partnership between Peralta, PS 143, the New York City School Construction Authority and city Parks Department. “Parks is happy that we were able to work with the School Construction Authority to design a solution that allows the school to expand, while also improving the recreational amenities in Louis Armstrong Park,” said Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski.
The new building is slated for completion in September 2020.
Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144 or firstname.lastname@example.org