BY JON CRONIN
Forest Hills’ PS 144 will finally get rid of its trailers and create a $52.4 million four-story addition to house 26 classrooms.
More than two years ago, the city’s School Construction Authority (SCA) installed trailers on PS 144’s playground that housed 36 students in the school’s pre-K program. The intention was to replace the trailers with an extension, which at the time was only in the design phase.
“The $52.4 million, four-story addition will house 26 new classrooms, an entrance lobby, an outdoor play area, a cafeteria, offices and a medical suite,” said Donald E. Henry Jr., the principal for Urbahn Architects. “The new building’s contemporary architecture will reflect the exterior of the original school erected in 1931.”
On Friday, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, SCA Director Lorraine Grillo and PS 144 Principal Reva Gluck Schneider led a groundbreaking for the addition with elected officials and the architects for the project.
The school currently serves 894 students in pre-K through fifth grade.
“The new building will accommodate 590 students and address functional deficiencies of the existing school,” said Martin D. Stein, a principal and designer for Urbahn. “The expansion will also eliminate the need for the currently used temporary modular, outdoor classroom facilities.”
The addition is designed in accordance with the city’s Green Schools Guide and Rating System, which specifies energy efficiency and healthy-environment requirements for New York City public schools.
The addition was designed by Manhattan’s Urbahn Architects in Manhattan and New Rochelle contractor MPCC.
In addition to the 26 classrooms, there will be an outdoor pre-K and kindergarten play area, a cafeteria and kitchen, principal’s and administrative offices, and medical facilities.