To accommodate all the students, the school was forced to set up trailers outside the main building.
This problem was cause for David Marmor, Principal of Francis Lewis High School, to decide that it was time for the school to embark on a new chapter in its history.
“For most of its 58 years, the school has been overcrowded,” said Principal David Marmor. “Everyone here knows that, we’ve all felt it.”
On May 30, Marmor was joined by local government officials to break ground on a state-of-the-art annex on the Fresh Meadows campus.
“This new annex will allow our school to have more programming flexibility along with providing our students with a 21st century learning environment,” Marmor added.
The annex will add 555 seats, 18 instructional spaces, culinary kitchen classroom, science lab, multipurpose rooms, and a greenhouse.
Marmor said the building was somewhat designed around the greenhouse, which compliments the school’s large science research program and the annex’s new science lab.
“It will allow students to perform experiments and look at plant sciences and food sciences in a whole new way,” he said.
Additionally, the greenhouse can produce the herbs and vegetables that will can be used by students in the culinary program.
Marmor added that the 555 seats are not meant to increase enrollment, but to better accommodate the current students.
“It’s not creating space for more kids,” he said. “It really is being designed and implemented to give us room to stretch out and breathe and provide start-of-the-art 21st century learning spaces for our kids.”
The new annex will be decorated with permanent public artwork by Bryan Zanisnik as part of the city’s Public Art for Public Schools program.
“This building has been overcrowded the day it opened,” said Lorraine Grillo, CEO of the School Construction Authority (SCA). “Today is a new day. It marks the ongoing commitment to provide the best possible learning environment for the students of New York.”
The annex is part of SCA’s commitment to bring 5,300 new seats to high schools throughout Queens by 2023.
Councilman Peter Koo allocated $750,000 in City Council funding for the annex.
“This annex is desperately needed, long overdue, and will go a long way toward ensuring our students are provided with the space and resources they need to succeed,” he added.