The Department of Education (DOE) approved the long-sought-for extension after site visits led by Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley revealed the cramped 600-seat school was holding gym classes in its basement lunchroom.
Details for the project - such as a cost estimate or construction timetable - have not been announced, but it is expected the gym annex will house approximately 120 additional seats. Parents and community leaders pushed for the expansion for years.
“We heard that request loud and clear and now we’re delivering with a brand new annex,” Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said in a statement.
Plans for the extension are still being ironed out; the school's campus, located at 67-54 Metropolitan Avenue, has limited space, and its zoning must be tweaked to accommodate more students.
Still, the annex represents a major victory for P.S. 87, whose members watched in recent years as the city poured money into expensive expansion projects at nearby schools.
While construction crews worked on additions for P.S. 49, 113 and 128, students at P.S. 87 continued taking gym classes in a low-ceilinged basement that doubled as the school's lunchroom.
“The students, families and staff of P.S. 87 could not be more excited for our new space and our new gym,” said Caryn Michaeli, the school's principal. Assemblyman Mike Miller said the school was overdue for an upgrade.
The annex is planned for the school yard's southwest corner, according to Nick Comaianni, the president of School District 24's Community Education Council. The new classrooms will go on top of the gym.
“There's enough room for them [to build the school] and still have room in the yard,” he said. “It really is something that the community and school needs.”
Financing for the project will come from the DOE's latest five-year capital plan, which will be unveiled in November and voted on by the city's Panel for Education Policy in January of 2011.