Despite the gloomy weather, the mood was celebratory on Wednesday at Garden City Middle School’s gymnasium groundbreaking ceremony.
Members of Garden City’s central administration, middle school, board of education, chamber of commerce and PTA along with Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, R-East Meadow, gathered to celebrate breaking ground for the new gymnasium.
This initiative is part of the district’s $36.5 million investment bond residents approved in 2009. Nearly $11 million has been earmarked for long anticipated middle school improvements. Built in 1925, the middle school is the oldest of the district’s nine buildings.
A new gymnasium is being erected to combat space and congestion issues at the school. Boys and girls locker rooms will move from the basement to the first floor. The current small gym, which is being utilized now as a hallway, will be converted to three full-sized classrooms. The reclaimed space will allow the school to maintain its team-teaching program and maximize instructional time.
Initial work will focus on the outside of the gym extension and will continue over the summer. The section has been closed off and students will not be impacted by the work. Completion is anticipated in two years.
Due to space shortage issues, a large portion of space at the school has continually been used for purposes other than originally intended, resulting in inadequate traffic patterns.
“We’re excited, we’ve cannibalized all possible non-instructional space for use as classrooms,” said middle school principal Dr. Peter Osroff. “We’ve even subdivided some classrooms. The new gymnasium will certainly address the current congestion problems at the school and the classrooms are sorely needed. I’m also pleased that the boys and girls locker rooms will now be the same size. We have the same number of students but the boys locker room is larger.”
Osroff added that the parking lot initiative has been completed and results have made a huge impact on the school. Positive feedback has been garnered from parents and faculty. The traffic flow has been dramatically improved with the addition of a new parking lot, creation of separate bus and traffic lanes and areas for student pick up and drop off.
“It’s been a phenomenal success,” added Osroff.