The School Construction Authority (SCA) plans to purchase the Bayside Jewish Center and transform it into a new public high school, according to Councilman Paul Vallone.
The new school will go a long way toward solving the issue of overcrowding in District 26 schools, which are at 130 percent capacity and currently short more than 3,400 seats. The new school is set to alleviate around 25 percent of that gap.
Vallone said that he is going to work with residents to lessen the impact that a new school would have on their everyday lives, including potential effects on parking availability and local traffic concerns.
“What is critical now is making sure that the community and community board are involved in every step of the way and that we work closely with the SCA to minimize the impact to the surrounding neighborhood,” Vallone said.
The SCA has stated that an Environmental Impact Study will soon begin at the site. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, an Environmental Impact Study is done to assess significant environmental impacts and reasonable alternatives which would avoid or minimize adverse impacts or enhance the quality of the human environment.
A public review process will be conducted after the study is completed, and then it will come to a vote before the entire City Council.
The Bayside Jewish Center has been at its current location at 32nd Avenue since 1960 and has seen the number of members in its congregation sharply drop in recent years. The center had an estimated congregation of 150 people in 2012 from 250 families a little over a decade before.
The proportion of Jewish households in northeast Queens plummeted by half from 1991 to 2001, from 44 percent of the population down to 22 percent a decade later, according to the UJA-Federation of New York’s Jewish Community Study.