Sept. 12, 2019 By Christian Murray
The City Council is expected to give the School Construction Authority the green light to go ahead and build a 3,100-seat high school on Northern Boulevard when it comes up for a vote Thursday.
The high school is slated to go up on the corner of Northern Boulevard and 54th Street, on a 137,000 square foot lot that includes the former Sports Authority retail store and an adjacent parking lot.
The proposal was recently approved by the council’s Land Use committee and will be going before the council for a full vote this afternoon.
“I am fully supportive of this and I am sure my colleagues are too,” said Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer who represents the district where the school will be built. “The truth is we need more high schools, we need more seats.”
The school will go up in District 30, which incorporates Long Island City and Astoria, as well as parts of Sunnyside, Woodside and Jackson Heights. The city aims to open the building by September 2023.
The SCA plans to open three schools in the one building, according to Van Bramer. For instance, one might include a District 75 (special education) component.
The sporting goods store closed in 2016, when the Colorado-based company liquidated all of its U.S. locations. The property and the parking lot is owned by Pine Tree Realty Corp.
The School Construction Authority had originally planned to build a 1,000 seat high-school at the location–on a smaller piece of land.
The Northern Boulevard site is divided in to several parcels and the SCA only thought it was able to acquire the piece that was occupied by the sports store. In later negotiations, it worked out a deal with Pine Tree to acquire the adjacent parking areas.
The school building will now officially accommodate 3,079 seats.
Van Bramer said the public will get to weigh in on what type of high school it will be and other factors soon.
The City has completed other buildings for high school students in western Queens in recent years. The SCA completed a middle school/high school campus at 1-50 51st Avenue in Long Island City in 2013 that includes the Academy for Careers in Television & Film.
The SCA is currently building a 969 seat high school building at 40-11 28th St. in Long Island City. The building will be the new home for the Academy of American Studies.