The school opened the doors to its sprawling campus, which also houses the Metropolitan Expeditionary Learning School and has seats for a special education program, for the first time, welcoming nearly 450 freshmen students.
“This is my first time being here since the building has been finished and I must say, it is fabulous,” said Sharon Greenberger, the chief operating officer of the Department of Education, who visited Queens Metropolitan on its opening day. “I expect this will be a great school.”
Located at 91-30 Metropolitan Avenue, a few blocks east of Woodhaven Boulevard, Queens Metropolitan - one of 26 new school locations that opened this year - is part of the city’s attempt to alleviate overcrowding in classrooms. The 26 new schools will add 17,000 much-needed seats, 1,811 of which belong to the Metropolitan Educational Campus.
“We’ve already seen historic levels of new school construction under the Bloomberg Administration, and this year is no different,” Schools Chancellor Joel Klein said earlier this month. “These new state-of-the-art school facilities will provide New York City students outstanding educational environments for years to come.”
Zoned to Queens Metropolitan are students from District 24, which includes Corona, Elmhurst, Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village and Ridgewood, and is the most overcrowded district in the city, and District 28, which is comprised of Forest Hills, Jamaica, Kew Gardens and Rego Park.
Despite sharing its building with another school, Queens Metropolitan’s students will miss no educational luxury. The building houses two shared gymnasiums and a weight room, four small cafeterias, and a collegiate-sized auditorium. Also, each school will have its own library; Queens Metropolitan’s is located on the roof overlooking Forest Hills.
Students will, however, have to wait awhile before they enjoy the school’s exterior. While construction on the building is complete, the remainder of the school’s grounds are still under development. An area that will eventually house tennis courts is littered with construction equipment and fenced off. The playground planned for the rear is also incomplete.
“Construction began three years ago, so it has come a long way in a short time,” said Greenberger.
For the school’s principal, Forest Hills native Marci Levy-Maguire, what’s going on inside the school is a lot more important.
“Our students are split up into small learning communities so that they can get a more personalized experience,” she said. “This also helps make the transition from middle school much easier because they will be with the same students all the time.”
Eventually, Queens Metropolitan High School will be home to 1,000 students. For Levy-Maguire, it’s important to take the load one day at a time. “The fact that I was able to give this tour on the first day of school is a sign of success,” she joked.