The Council of the City of New York
Office of Council Member Costa Constantinides
For Immediate Release
March 13, 2017
Contact: Shachar Sharon
Officials Announce Removal of Trailers from PS 151 Playground
Woodside, N.Y. – Borough President Melinda Katz, Council Member Costa Constantinides, and Schools Construction Authority (SCA) President Lorraine Grillo today announced that all 11 Transportable Classroom Units, or trailers, will be removed from the PS 151 playground. They were joined by the Department of Education (DOE) Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose, PS 151 Principal Maisonet, PS Q255 Principal Richard Marowitz, parents, and others.
Originally built as temporary units to house students due to overcrowding, classroom trailers have become a serious challenge to educators and students. They frequently lack adequate lighting, ventilation, heat, and bathrooms. Many trailers were built to be in service for a decade but most continue to be used for years after their original expiration date. The placement of trailers also renders many schoolyards less useful for outdoor physical activity.
Constantinides and Katz repeatedly heard from constituents, parents, educators, and students about the need to remove the trailers from PS 151 and reopen the playground for physical activity. They made their removal a key priority and worked collaboratively with the SCA to make this a reality.
At its April policy meeting, the Panel for Educational Policy will vote to approve the re-siting of PS Q255, which is co-located at PS 151’s building but occupies the trailers in the playground. The re-siting provides Q255 students with permanent instructional space and improved learning conditions at the PS Q397 building and increase outdoor space for PS 151 students. There is currently only a Pre-K program at Q397, sight of the former Most Precious Blood Catholic school, and this re-siting would better utilize space at Q397. All instructional and extracurricular activities offered to Q255 students would continue at the new permanent, long-term learning space. There is enough space at Q397 for a projected enrollment of about 100 students.
Constantinides said, “Our community has long advocated for the removal of trailers from the PS 151 playground to create more much-needed outdoor space and to find a permanent learning space for Q255 students. We have been working with our partners Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and SCA President Lorraine Grillo to find a long-term solution. Our students require permanent educational space that’s indoors, rather than in temporary units or trailers. All children should have adequate recreational and playground space. I am proud that this plan will improve the learning conditions for Q255 students and better utilize space at Q397 and the PS 151 playground. I thank Queens Borough President Katz, SCA, Department of Education, Councilman Dromm and all our partners for their dedication to keep the promise to remove these trailers and provide a solution to this decades-old dilemma.”
“Classroom trailers should never be a permanent solution to school overcrowding,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “We are thrilled for the students and teachers of PS 255 who will be able to resume in real school buildings. Thank you to the School Construction Authority for prioritizing the removal of classroom trailers for our kids.”
“Today marks a great moment for both the PS 151 community and the students of PS Q255. By removing the Transportable Classroom Units (TCU’s), we will be able to bring new and needed play space online for the students at PS. 151 to enjoy as well as ensuring that the students of PS Q255 have a new permanent home that meets their needs” said, Lorraine Grillo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City School Construction Authority. “Thanks to our strong partnerships with local leaders, parents, and community members, we were able to make this day a reality.”
DOE Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Rose said, “We are thrilled to support two schools today by providing PS 255 students with improved facilities and removing the TCUs from the outdoor space at PS 151, and look forward to continuing to work closely with families throughout this process. This is part of our ongoing work to remove TCUs and we remain dedicated to continuing this work across the City.”
“The PS Q255 school community is thrilled to be moving into a new building. The school staff is dedicated to providing students with a high-quality education and ensuring the needs of every student are met. The new facility will provide additional resources and opportunities for the school community and we’re grateful to the DOE, SCA, Councilman Constantinides and BP Katz for their support,” said Richard Marowitz, Principal of PS Q255.
Council Member Costa Constantinides represents the New York City Council’s 22nd District, which includes his native Astoria along with parts of Woodside, East Elmhurst, and Jackson Heights. He serves as the chair the City Council’s Environmental Protection Committee and sits on six additional committees: Civil Service & Labor, Contracts, Cultural Affairs, Oversight & Investigations, Sanitation, and Transportation. For more information, visit council.nyc.gov/costa.