Aug. 29, 2019 By Ryanne Salzano
A new elementary school that will cater to 476 students is opening in Jackson Heights next week.
The school, which is 5 stories tall and located at 69-01 34th Ave., features 22 classrooms, a library, a combined gym/auditorium and a 4,000 square-foot rooftop playground. The school, called P.S. 398, will serve pre-K to 5th grade students.
The building has gone up on the site that was previously White Castle’s regional headquarters at a cost of approximately $60 million.
Officials say the 65,000-square-foot school will help alleviate overcrowding and reduce class sizes in the district, particularly at P.S. 202, P.S. 152 and P.S. 69. The school is located within Community School District 30, the second most crowded school district in Queens.
“The priority is to expand seats…particularly in Jackson Heights,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, who was a public school teacher in Sunnyside for 25 years prior to being elected into office.
The school will initially serve children in pre-K and kindergarten but not the higher grades. Students who were enrolled at surrounding schools last year will not be transferred.
Each successive year, the initial pre-K and kindergarten students at P.S. 398 Q will move up a grade until the school is eventually full.
Plans for the new school emerged several years ago, with Community Board 3 signing off on the school in 2015. The property was acquired that year and there was a groundbreaking in 2017.
The school will feature Pre-K classrooms on the first floor, along with a cafeteria, kitchen and some support spaces. The second floor will include first and second grade classrooms, along with a suite for administrators, the principal’s office, and a music classroom.
The library will be located on the third floor, as well as more classrooms and the guidance counselor’s office. The gym/auditorium is on the fourth floor, with special education classrooms, an art room, a science room and staff support spaces. Play space is on the fifth level.
Next week, there will be an official ribbon cutting that will be attended by Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza and Dromm. The details have yet to be finalized.