Permits have been filed with the city’s Department of Buildings to build a gym at PS 81 in Ridgewood.
The new single-story building is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to bring physical education spaces to all schools in the five boroughs.
The school is located at 1716 Bleecker St. near the border of Queens and Brooklyn. According to the real estate publication YIMBY, the new gym will be 22 feet tall and 5,750 square feet, raising the school’s footprint to 72,750 square feet. YIMBY also reported that the new building will have an office and storage space.
The city’s School Construction Authority (SCA)—which oversees all new school buildings, extensions and projects—did not return repeated calls for comment regarding the new building.
In June, the mayor made the announcement at PS 81 of his gym and air conditioning mandate for all schools. During that press conference, he stated that both the physicality involved in the use of a gym and comfortable aid of air conditioning would keep students attentive.
“It is a level of inequality that makes no sense for the greatest city on Earth,” he said.
Despite a 1957 mandate of physical education in the city, there are currently 76 schools—16 of them in Queens—with no gym space and approximately 120 with inadequate space, de Blasio said. The SCA will focus on those initial 196 schools.
The city’s Department of Education will also refocus on having physical education teachers in the school as well as better training for those who currently teach the subject.
Lorraine Grillo, president of the School Construction Authority, said that schools that do not have space available for a new gym may have rooms repurposed for physical education.