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Covid-19 construction delays exacerbate crowding in New York City schools

May 24, 2021
The school system's data shows that more than 500,000 students are attending crowded schools. The 37 projects that have been delayed would create an estimated 21,000 classroom seats.

New York City public school students will be attending crowded schools longer than planned after a construction freeze caused by the Covid-19 pandemic stopped 37 major projects.

The New York Post reports that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s directives last spring halted construction on the schools and additions, according to the city’s School Construction Authority.

Most of the projects are now a year behind schedule and one project — a new elementary school in the Woodside neighborhood that is part of a mixed-use development — is two years behind, the construction authority said.

Other paused projects: a new $47.3 million elementary school in Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighborhood; a $63.3 million addition to PS 254 in Brooklyn; and PS 320, a new $71.5 million school under construction in the Bronx.

Construction of a 555-seat annex for Francis Lewis High School in Queens will not be ready in September as planned, and is now pushed back to September 2022.

The school, meant to hold 2,100 students, has long operated at 200% of its capacity.

The total budgeted work for all 37 delayed projects tops $2.5 billion. They are being funded with a mix of city, state and federal money.

The school system's data shows that more than 500,000 students are in crowded schools.

The 37 projects would create about 21,000 additional classroom seats.

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