Students at PS/IS 48 in Jamaica have been yearning for a school building where they did not have to share a single room in which to eat, play and assemble and this year their wishes were granted.
The young learners joined their teachers and elected officials at the school’s new building Friday to celebrate their all-new, all-different space and show off their school spirit. The five-story structure, at 108-25 155th St., features state-of-the-art classrooms, an auditorium, science labs and other amenities that were not possible in their old building next door.
Principal Patricia Mitchell said parents have always complimented her staff for their work, but was always frustrated with the overcrowded conditions in the old school. When word came four years ago that the building would get an upgrade, the parents were excited, according to the principal.
“We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” she said.
State Sen. Shirley Huntley (D-Jamaica) led the campaign to improve PS/IS 48 long before she was elected to the state Legislature in 2006. During her time as a parent advocate and member of School District 28’s Community Education Council, Huntley heard frequent complaints from the community about PS/IS 48 and pushed for a bigger space.
She said she was appalled that the pre-K to fifth-graders had to use a small, multipurpose room as their gym, cafeteria and auditorium.
When she got into office, Huntley was able to work with the city School Construction Authority to create the space after the city rezoned 368 blocks in downtown Jamaica in 2007.
“This has been a 30-year project. It’s not about me. It’s about you,” the senator told the children.
The school now has three separate rooms for the auditorium, gym and cafeteria and has the latest school textbooks, computers and other supplies.
Dorothy Cash, who teaches second-grade and has been with the school for many years, said the new facility had everything an instructor could ask for.
“It has been a fabulous transition,” she said.
Borough President Helen Marshall applauded the staff and parents for their work over the years and urged other parents to keep fighting for their children.
“It’s important for them to get the best education they can get,” she said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2011 Community News Group
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