Dozens of New York City public schools will get upgraded gym facilities over the next few years as part of a $385 million initiative to provide physical education to all students.
DNAinfo New York reports that the first phase of the initiative will create gyms in 76 schools that lack dedicated space for physical education.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the plan at P.S. 81 in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens, a school where students must climb five stories to a makeshift gym at the top of the school.
Construction and renovation of gyms will take place over the next four years. If schools can't find space for physical education, they can lease it at a nearby space; the city is setting aside $1.8 million to cover rent.
“Every student needs quality physical education to stay healthy and remain focused during the school day," Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña says.
Officials say it may be difficult to find space, particularly in crowded districts such as Districts 24 and 30 in Queens.
The city Department of Education will assess schools with large yards that can accommodate space for stand-alone gyms.
They also will work "very closely with local community-based organizations such as YMCAs to see if there's gym space nearby schools that we can lease," say Elizabeth Rose, the school system's deputy chancellor of strategy and policy.