Sep. 8, 2023 By Niko Balkaran
It takes a whole village. This sentiment was echoed on Sept. 7 by local elected and school officials, who, along with local parents, celebrated the opening of a new annex at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The 795-seat annex is one of 10 new schools and extensions to add 4,422 seats across New York City for the new school year.
“Our school buildings are pillars of each and every community that we serve,” said Schools Chancellor David Banks, who helped to cut the ribbon in celebration of the new annex. “These buildings bring together staff, students, families and neighbors alike. These 10 new buildings are prime to ensure that we meet the needs of these communities and families to a greater degree. They are also a reflection of the collaborative work within and between NYC public schools, our School Construction Authority (SCA) partners, our school communities and our community leaders.”
The Sept. 7 ceremony was part of the New York City School Construction Authority’s 2020-2024 Capital Plan to add 45,000 seats throughout the city to combat district overcrowding. Queens has some of the most congested high schools in the city, according to Nina Kubota, president and chief executive officer of the School Construction Authority (SCA).
“There is a hallway in Cardozo that is nicknamed 42nd Street because it gets so crowded that you literally spend the entire period trying to get through the corridor,” said Councilwoman Linda Lee.
“But we have been chipping away,” Kubota added.
More school seats are in the works for students in Queens, as the SCA plans to build 32 new schools in the borough, which will open up around 19,000 seats, according to Kubota.
The new $47.8 million Cardozo annex was designed so that the high school’s many programs, such as ROTC, journalism and media studies and political science and law ethics, were better supplemented to become stronger.
In addition to 25 standard classrooms and two special education classrooms, the four-story, fully air-conditioned building has a mock courtroom, production and media center and a robotics lab. There are also reading and speech resource rooms, a science lab and prep rooms, a teachers’ workroom and new offices for the principal and administrators.
“This annex is a tremendous addition to the Cardozo High School community that will provide needed relief to the students and flexibility for teachers,” said state Senator John Liu. “Now let’s be sure to build on this momentum to expand even more schools that are at or over capacity so that all our students can have access to a sound, basic education.”
Assemblyman Ed Braunstein said the new annex will further “Cardozo’s longstanding reputation of academic excellence. I thank the School Construction Authority for their hard work on the eagerly anticipated annex, which will benefit the community for generations to come.”