IS 125 Tackles Overcrowding With New Annex

BY TRISHA SAKHUJA
Staff Writer

Thomas J. McCann Woodside Intermediate School 125 will see an annex with 600 seats by the fall of 2016.

On Jan. 10, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and Lorraine Grillo, president of the School Construction Authority, were joined by State Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) and Joe Conley, Chair of Community Board 2, to announce the much-awaited news with the students, teachers and faculty of IS 125.

The annex will replace the dilapidated trailers and the temporary mini-building, which exists on IS 125’s playground.

The new annex is also one of six new schools Van Bramer helped secure in Western Queens that will be fully operational by 2016.

“One day, the trailers that you see behind us, which are inadequate and a problem for so many, will be taken away once and for all,” Van Bramer said.

IS 125 is at 123 percent capacity, but the $50 million project will create 600 seats that will include an additional cafeteria, gym and state-of-the-art classrooms for the intermediate school.

Principal Judy Mittler said with a strong instructional focus in this school, they are able to receive A’s on their annual progress reports from the Dept. of Education.

“It’s all about the instruction, the focus and the families,” Mittler said.

Mittler explained the school does so well because it is divided into four communities overseen by an assistant principal, a dean and a guidance counselor representing each one.

“Even though we have almost 1,800 children, they are four very small communities in a very large building,” she said. “So the children feel there is somebody who cares about them.”

The portables and the mini-building pose a huge security problem because students have to walk in and out of the main building for lunch, gym and other extra curricular activities at least three times a day, Mittler said.

Robert Marino, one of the four assistant principals, said during the days with bad weather, it is not conducive to learning to have students soaking wet and cold while they are traveling in and out of the school.

“Having a new building at IS 125 will improve the lives of the students and the teachers,” he said.

“From a security standpoint, it makes us concerned that anybody could walk into the school yard at any time and do what they will with the students walking back and forth,” Marino said.

Alysia Quan, 13, Vice President of the Student Government, spoke on behalf of the students at IS 125.

“You have the best time of your life, [with] the chorus, the orchestra, all the extra curricular activities that we have at IS 125 is so much fun,” she said.

“We are all really excited to have these portables taken away because the kids are freezing,” Quan said. “We are really excited to have the mini building and the portables become a new building for the kids.”

Reach Trisha Sakhuja at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128, tsakhuja@queenstribune.com, or @Tsakhuja13.