ASTORIA – Borough President Melinda Katz and Council Member Costa Constantinides announced a Fiscal Year ‘18 investment of nearly $3.7 million to the NYC School Construction Authority to improve public school facilities in the district. The capital budget allocation will be used to improve science labs, technology, and bathrooms, as well as renewable energy updates.
Constantinides said on Thursday, “I am proud to have partnered with Borough President Katz to invest almost $3.7 million in our most important resource, our children. Our investment this year includes more advanced technology and studying tools. New and improved school infrastructure will help encourage students to spend more time studying and learning while enjoying their overall school experience. Thank you to Borough President Katz for her continued commitment to our students.”
“Queens has some of the best schools in the state, but to continue their success our schools need to have first-class facilities that will enable our children to reach their full potential,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “This capital investment of millions of dollars will go a long way toward ensuring our kids learn in facilities with modern laboratories and studios, with up-to-date technology and with the quality playground space. Our future depends on our children and their futures depend on important projects like these, made possible thanks to the commitment of Councilmember Constantinides and the School Construction Authority.”
A new educational film studio will soon be built at the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria with an allocation of $300,000 from Borough President Katz and $75,000 from Councilman Constantinides. A benefit of studying film in New York, especially in Astoria, is the wide variety of production studios including Kaufman Astoria Studios.
In order to help meet the goal of reducing emissions 80% by 2050 citywide, Constantinides allocated funding to encourage use of renewable energy at public spaces in the district, including libraries and schools. He and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz together designated a total of $1.1 million for solar panels at PS 122, making it the first public school in Astoria with solar panels. This investment will decrease emissions and teach children about the importance of combating climate change.
Borough President Katz allocated $500,000 for a new science lab at PS Q300. Providing new science labs has been one of the Borough President’s top priorities, as they allow students to look beyond the books and conventional classroom teaching. She also allocated $300,000 for bathroom updates at IS 141.
As part of his ongoing investments to improve science learning spaces in our public schools, he designated $160,000 each at PS 84 and IS 126 for new hydroponic science labs. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water based, nutrient rich solution, without using soil. Plants and equipment will be installed in classrooms that use water and other mediums for plant growth. These labs provide hands-on education to students in many subjects including biology, agriculture, technology, and nutrition. He also invested almost $900,000 in technology upgrades at all public schools once again this year. As new technologies are always emerging, existing computers may become unusable. With this funding, schools can upgrade their computers, laptops, SMART Boards, or other pieces of technology.
The lunchroom at PS 122 will soon be less noisy. The room was originally built to be used as a gymnasium so the walls are exposed brick and concrete. Even quiet sounds of conversation are amplified, causing distress and headaches among students. A $200,000 allocation from Constantinides for soundproofing will help make the lunchroom environment healthier and less noisy.
“We are grateful to Council Member Constantinides and Borough President Katz for their generous funding and support,” said Lorraine Grillo, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City School Construction Authority. “Thanks to our strong partnerships with local leaders, Council District 22 students and families will now have access to state-of-the-technology and upgraded facilities.”
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.