Today’s news:

Creedmoor site cleared for building boom

With all but one of the old buildings on the property razed, construction of three schools on 32 acres of the 350-acre Creedmoor Psychiatric Center campus by the city School Construction Authority is scheduled to start next month.

The city Board of Education plans to build three schools, an outdoor playground and 250 parking places on a 32.7-acre plot of Creedmoor.

The Glen Oaks school campus is at 78-70 Grand Central Parkway North, on a block bounded by Grand Central Parkway to the north, Commonwealth Boulevard to the east, Union Turnpike to the south and the Cross Island Parkway to the west.

The two new elementary schools and one high school will house more than 2,800 students and alleviate some of the severe overcrowding that plagues city schools in northeast and southeast Queens. The schools will occupy slightly more than 19 acres on the 32.7-acre parcel at Creedmoor.

“Two buildings were removed over the last six months,” said Deborah Wetzel, a spokeswoman for the School Construction Authority. “A third building at the south end of the property will stay until 2003 and then it will come down.”

She said the construction will start in the beginning of June and the educational campus will be completed in the summer of 2003. Right now, she said, there is not any activity on the site while the contractors get their permits.

The remaining structure — Building 39 — has been used by the Queens Children’s Psychiatric Center to house some of its patients. The state Office of Mental Health and the SCA had a previous agreement not to touch the structure for another two years, said John Gallagher, a spokesman for state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose).

“From what I hear things are moving along nicely,” he said.

The 350-acre Creedmoor property consists of 75 buildings used to house a wide variety of city and state agencies. The state psychiatric hospital is concentrated in Building No. 40, the largest structure on the campus, and has five other buildings for a chapel, administration and a museum.

District 26, which covers northeast Queens, and District 29, which includes a large segment of southeast Queens, now operate at 5 percent above capacity at the elementary school level and right at capacity at the intermediate school level, the SCA said. Queens high schools are running 24 percent over capacity, according to the agency.

The School Construction Authority, which bought the land for $12 million, plans to build a $195 million educational campus on the property, serving students from Districts 26 and 29.

Two of the schools, covering pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, will be run by the Chancellor’s School District and a high school will be under the Queens High School Division.

The elementary schools will hold 1,685 students: a 760-seat PS/IS 266Q and a 925-seat PS/IS 208Q serving School Districts 26 and 29. The 1,182-seat high school — the High School of Teaching Professions — will be open to all Queens high school students.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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