FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JANUARY 2, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
Cardozo HS gets new annex to alleviate overcrowding
BY JENNA BAGCAL
Construction has begun on a new annex
at a Bayside high school, which the New
York City School Construction Authority
says will help quell school congestion.
Th e city agency unveiled details for the
three-story 795-seat annex at Benjamin
Cardozo High School as part of a borough
Boys rescued from Forest Park pond after falling through ice
BY BILL PARRY
Th ey were on thin ice. Two boys, ages 9
and 12, had to be rescued on Christmas
Day aft er the ice they were walking on
gave way, plunging them into the waters
of Strack Memorial Pond in Woodhaven’s
Forest Park around 3 p.m., according to
A quick-thinking third boy grabbed a
Parks Department rescue ladder and used it
to help the boys out of the chilly pond before
the FDNY and NYPD arrived on scene.
Th e ladder was positioned near the
pond aft er a Glendale boy, 11-year-old
Anthony Perez, drowned while rescuing
another boy, 12-year-old Juan Umpierrez,
who had fallen through the ice at Strack
Memorial Pond in February 2018. Perez
had rushed in to pull his friend to safety,
but he couldn’t get himself back out
of the water and became trapped under
the ice for up to half and hour while his
Umpierrez ran to fi nd help.
When fi rst responders arrived on the
scene, fi refi ghters had to break through
the ice with their hands and then went
into the water to pull Perez out. Rescuers
performed CPR to try and revive the boy,
but they were unable to save him.
He was taken to Jamaica Hospital, where
he was pronounced dead. Th e two boys
who fell through the ice on Christmas
Day led away from Strack Memorial Pond
by fi refi ghters who tried to warm them
with white towels and FDNY turnout
coats. Th ey were transported to Jamaica
Hospital where they were treated for
exposure and non-life-threatening injuries,
according to an NYPD spokesman.
Th ey are expected to make full recoveries,
Meanwhile, NYC Parks Commissioner
Mitchell J. Silver is warning park-goers
in all fi ve boroughs that it is never safe to
venture onto the ice on the city’s 96 ponds.
“No matter how fun the ice may look,
anyone walking on the ice is taking a big
risk with their life,” Silver said. “And, if an
ice emergency occurs, call 911 fi rst, do
not attempt a rescue, leave it to the professionals.
To warn visitors of the dangers of
thin ice, NYC Parks posts warning signs
around waterbody perimeters in all fi ve
boroughs. Additionally, special red ladders
are installed around the edges in the
event of an emergency.
Th e same type of ladder that proved
eff ective in Forest Park on Christmas Day.
wide plan to create nearly 5,000
additional high school seats. Th e SCA
staff designed the annex and Arnell
Construction Corp. broke ground on the
$47.8 million project in August 2019.
Cardozo is at 149 percent capacity with
over 3,700 students currently enrolled in
grades 9 through 12. Th e new annex will
have 25 additional classrooms, two special
education classrooms and will be fully
accessible and air-conditioned. It will also
feature a teacher’s workroom and supervisory
offi ces on each fl oor.
Once complete, the annex is slated
to open in September 2022. According
to Lorraine Grillo, president and Chief
Executive Offi cer of the SCA, the new
annex along with the one under construction
at Francis Lewis High School is part
of the agency’s eff orts to create over 5,300
Queens high school seats by 2023.
“Cardozo is one of several schools built
in eastern Queens in the 1960s that are
now bursting at the seams, and now is
the time to meet the increasing demand
for seats as our communities continue
to grow and prosper. Th is annex will
help Cardozo faculty and staff provide
a high-quality education to all of the
school’s students,” said Grillo.
Other features at Cardozo’s planned
annex include a STEM lab, science preparation
room, robotics lab, mock courtroom,
media center and production
room, three locker rooms for athletic
fi eld use, bicycle storage and shower and
As part of SCA’s Public Art for Public
Schools program, a commissioned artist
will create a site-specifi c piece for the
“Knowing that Benjamin N. Cardozo
High School students have suff ered with
overcrowding for decades, I suggested
that the School Construction Authority
look at adding seats, and I am so pleased
that the agency found a perfect spot for
the expansion,” said Councilman Barry
Grodenchik. “Today’s groundbreaking is
a watershed win for the school and its
students; with the new state-of-the-art
annex, one of New York City’s best public
high schools is about to get even better.”
Th e New York State Legislature formed
the SCA in 1988 to “design and construct
safe, attractive and environmentally sound
public schools” for DOE students. Since its
inception, the agency has provided over
265,000 new school seats, not including
Temporary Classroom Units (TCUs) and
opened the largest free Universal Pre-K
(UPK) network with almost 8,800 seats.
In addition, the SCA has completed
over 12,500 capital improvement projects
that have repaired and upgraded over
1,800 schools in over 1,400 buildings.
“Cardozo High School has set a standard
of excellence and success for years.
It is important that we do all we can to
support our top-performing schools, alleviate
overcrowding, and invest in our
schools for their continued success,” said
Assemblyman David Weprin. “I am glad
to partner with my colleagues in the city
and state to break ground on this state-ofthe
art annex which will serve our community
for years to come.”
For information on this and other projects,
Photo by Robert Stridiron
Two boys were rescued by a third after they fell through the ice on Strack Memorial Park in Forest
Park on Christmas.
Courtesy of the New York City School Construction Authority
A rendering of the annex at Benjamin Cardozo High School in Bayside.