BY LUIS GRONDA
A school in Richmond Hill does not have its own gym and the local community board is ramping up to bring more attention to the issue.
PS 90, located at 86-50 109th St., currently lacks a gym for its students and Community Board 9 wants the School Construction Authority to at least examine the school to see if it is possible to build the gym or create extra space for the children to play during recess.
Seth Wellins, head of CB9’s Education Committee, said they plan on sending a letter to the SCA making the request about the gym in the near future. He declined to show the Queens Tribune the letter, saying it was not yet ready to be released publicly.
According to Wellins, he recently visited the school on a tour and saw how the school organizes its recess.
He said the school uses either the cafeteria or two rooms adjacent to the lunch room to put the kids in when it is time to play. Wellins said they cannot use the cafeteria all the time, because they also have three lunch periods that must be used to serve the children meals, which was confirmed by the school’s PTA president Rebecca Ferrer.
“They’re making due with inadequate facilities,” Wellins said.
Both Ferrer and Wellins said that while the school does have a nice outdoor area for the students to play around in, they do not take them outside when temperatures get low, forcing the school to use smaller space inside the school.
Ferrer said the students have gym time once a week and they are limited to having the kids do exercises like push-ups and sit-ups because of the small space.
She also said that the school has two physical education teachers and they often take two separate classes into one gym session, which is about 60 students in total, depending on the size of the class.
“At the end of the day, these kids need a space inside to play,” Ferrer said.
Wellins said that while it ultimately may be unfeasible for the school to create space for a gym, they would like to bring it to SCA’s attention and look deeper into the matter.
The school’s principal, Adrienne Ubertini, did not return requests for comment about this issue, but during an architectural inspection of the school earlier this year, she expressed several concerns about the building including broken air conditioning units that needed to be fixed. There is no mention of the need for a gymnasium in her feedback.
Both Wellins and Ferrer said fixing the A/C throughout the school is another issue that needs to be addressed prior to the weather getting warmer in the spring and summer time.
The SCA did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.
Reach Luis Gronda at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 127, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @luisgronda.