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The tidy buildings of PS/IS 208, PS/MS 266 and the Queens High School of Teaching, Liberal Arts and Sciences make up the Glen Oaks campus at 74-20 Commonwealth Blvd., serving District 26 in northeast Queens and District 29 in southeast Queens.
Nearly 200 school officials, politicians, teachers and parents were gathered in the campus courtyard for the ceremony, flanked by the three red brick and glass-fronted buildings. The 2,700-capacity campus is the largest construction project of the School Construction Authority, according to deputy regional superintendent Brenda Steele, and was opened last year.
There are fewer than 650 students enrolled at each of the K-8 primary schools and 345 students enrolled at the high school, serving nine through 12th graders.
Judith Chin, the superintendent for new Region 3 encompassing District 26 and District 29, lauded the campus's state-of-the-art facilities on 32 acres, including a gym, multimedia center, 300-capacity auditorium, and central air-conditioning. She drew drawing applause from the audience seated outside on a hot and humid morning.
State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) spoke about the land, which the state sold to the city to build new schools after the number of patients at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center on the property dropped precipitously.
"This unique educational complex could only happen when all levels of governance are committed and focused on a single goal," he said.
Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis) noted that the borough has yet to find space for all its students.
"Today, of course, Queens still suffers from overcrowding," he said. "Without this campus, the problem would be worse." "We still need more schools," Borough President Helen Marshall said. She pointed out the high school's focus on teaching and said the city is in need of future educators.
"We need really bright, capable young people to be teachers," she said, noting that she used to be a teacher before entering politics.
Queens Village parent Heema Seegobin said her twin daughters Nadia and Nisha, freshmen at the high school, "love that it's a bit different," with interactive programs with the primary schools as part of the teaching curriculum.
"I like the programs, the involvement of teachers and parents," said Seegobin, who is the PTA treasurer. "The classrooms are smaller, and the child builds a rapport and expresses themselves better."
Some students leaned against the schools' windows watching the hubbub below in the courtyard, which included many of their schoolmates performing in the campus color guard, choral ensemble, and the PS/MS 266 Band.
The students have "this choral group and this orchestra," Marshall said in a later interview, highlighting the campus's collaborative extracurricular activities for all students. "And we're talking about three schools here. Already we know it's a good system. I know (these schools are) on the right track."
Reach reporter Sophia Chang by e-mail at email@example.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.
©2004 Community Newspaper Group
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