Oct. 31, 2019 By Allie Griffin
Construction has begun on a new 306 seat Pre-K center focused on science and art in Corona, with an opening scheduled for fall 2021.
The Pre-K Center is being built on the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) campus at 47-01 111th St. in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It will be the first of its kind in New York City, with a focus on early childhood STEAM–science, technology, engineering, art and math education. The center is also unique in that it will have a partnership with a major cultural institution.
The $42.4 million Pre-K Center will be fully ADA accessible and include 17 classrooms, two exercise rooms, a community and parent room and an outdoor playground.
The construction of the new center is greatly needed, officials said. With a rapidly growing community, many Corona schools and Queens schools in general are over-crowded.
Once the new Pre-K is completed, Pre-K students currently located in Transportable Classroom Units (TCUs) at P.S. 28, P.S. 16 and P.S. 7 will be relocated to the center.
The School Construction Authority will then demolish the TCUs at the three schools to make way for new outdoor play spaces, said the president and CEO of the authority Lorraine Grillo.
In addition to adding seats for 306 students, the center will introduce the community to STEAM programs at early ages. A growing number of studies show a positive correlation between early STEAM-based curriculum and later success in those subjects and in school generally, according to the Mayor’s Office.
“This center doesn’t just address the immediate needs of Corona’s kids, it also represents an investment in their future,” Council Member Francisco Moya said in a statement. “Providing for our children goes beyond finding a classroom for them — we have to nourish their imaginations and support their interests.”
Every student enrolled in the Pre-K program will receive a free family membership to NYSCI and direct access to its resources. Teachers will also have access to specialized professional learning and coaching from the hall.
“This Pre-K, with help from its world-class STEAM program, will help our young New Yorkers explore their creativity and give them a head start on the skills that increasingly shape our world,” Moya added.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who announced the school’s construction today in front of NYSCI, called the new STEAM school “world class.”
“This is STEAM programming at the pre-K level as early as we can reach our children. This is going to be one of the very best programs in the nation,” de Blasio said. “And it’s not happening on Park Avenue. It’s happening here in Corona.”