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PS 214 students enjoy great outdoors

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Early last month, state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) first expressed concern over what she thought was the sluggish construction of the grounds fenced in by 31st Drive, Union Street and 140th Street.

Initially, there was some confusion as to which agency - the Parks Department or the School Construction Authority - was responsible for the project.

The authority said it was working on a smaller playground at the corner of 140th and Union streets, and said the work was on schedule, said Debra Perry, a spokeswoman for the authority, in an interview last month. Although the authority did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment, a spokesman for Stavisky said the construction of the recess area, completed last week, was completed by the Parks Department. The work on the playground, hugging the corner of Union Street and 31st Drive, is being overseen by the School Construction Authority, which Perry, the spokeswoman for the authority, said was on time, in a September interview.

"I am delighted that everyone cooperated to bring this project to closure, enabling our children to play outdoors rather than inside watching videos," Stavisky said at a ceremony Nov. 1 reopening the recess area

Some parents of children attending PS 214 were angered in early September when they were told that the work on the recess area would not be finished before the first day of school. The school had contingency plans, though.

Howard Merims, the principal of the school, said in an interview last month that the children would have to gather in the auditorium in the morning instead of in the recess area, where they would usually line up and file into the school. During lunchtime, the children would again report to the auditorium, he said, to either read or watch a movie.

The drill was not exactly foreign to the students. On a rainy day or a particularly blustery winter one, the children would gather in the auditorium instead of the playground. Merims declined to comment on this article, deferring to School Board 25. The school board to return a phone call seeking comment.

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