Elected and city officials joined parents and school leaders at PS 143 on Monday to break ground on the new addition. The $87.8 million facility will add an additional 980 seats.
The five-story building will have 33 standard classrooms, six special-education rooms, three art rooms, two science rooms, a dance room and an exercise room.
It will also feature a new library, guidance and administrative rooms, a student cafeteria and a kitchen for teachers.
The addition is expected to be ready by September 2020. Immediately following its opening, the current school building will also be improved, adding a pre-kindergarten classroom, two standard classrooms, a special-education room, two music rooms, a medical suite and a parent room.
“This is truly a dream come true for the school,” said District 24 superintendent Madelene Taub-Chan.
Principal Jerry Brito said the Corona school has “some of the best kids and parents” in all of New York City. The school facility outside will finally reflect the “great things happening inside,” he said.
“It will be a renaissance at 143,” Brito said. “In a short time, we’ll have our new addition.”
Elected officials lauded the project, which they said has been a long time coming. State Senator Jose Peralta in particular highlighted the outspoken advocacy of local parents in pushing to get rid of the longtime trailers that once sat where the annex will be built.
“In the winter it was cold, it the summer it was too hot,” he said.
Peralta added that the trailers housed about 150 students outdoors in a “rusty trailer,” which was only supposed to be a temporary situation.
“By the time it’s done, some of your children will have graduated,” Peralta said to the parents. “But it’s here, this is the legacy that you’ll leave behind.”
Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry recalled that he used to run a summer program inside the trailers back in the 1970s. That was when the portable units were put in, he said.
“They were new at the time,” he said. “They lasted too long.”
PTA president Angelica Salgado echoed that the school has the best students, and that the city needs to invest in them. She called the building of the annex “a dream come true.”
“We have to give them what we need because they are the future of this community,” she said. “They need the best education.”
School Construction Authority president Lorraine Grillo said the construction will take some time, but it will be worth the wait.
“I know how much the parents here deserve to see the best possible building for their children,” Grillo said. “We’re excited and looking forward to it. On to 2020.”