New York City public school students will be jammed into overcrowded schools longer than planned after a COVID-19 construction freeze stopped 37 major projects.
Gov. Cuomo’s COVID-19 orders halted construction on the new schools and additions last spring and many of the projects sat idle for six months or longer, 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 Woodside that is part of a mixed-use development — is two years behind, the SCA said.
A list of the paused projects obtained by The Post include a new $47.3 million elementary school in Manhattan’s Hudson Square neighborhood that just began the design process; a $63.3 million addition to PS 254 in Brooklyn that is under construction; and PS 320, a new $71.5 million school at 1570 Boone Ave. in the Bronx also under construction.
A rendering of the new five-story PS 320 at the construction site still shows the outdated completion date of September 2021 and a list of public officials, including Mayor de Blasio, who will be long gone when it opens in September 2022.
The total budgeted work for all 37 projects tops $2.5 billion. It is being funded with a mix of city, state and federal money and the effect of the delays on constructions costs isn’t known.
“We are still assessing the full impact of the pause as we continue to work toward completing all projects on budget,” said Kevin Ortiz, an SCA spokesman.
The work is to expand or replace schools that are bulging at the seams in many cases, with classes sometimes taking place in trailers.
“Delays are particularly harmful given the need for social distancing and smaller classes next year,” said Leonie Haimson, the head of the advocacy group Class Size Matters.
Haimson said the Department of Education’s own data shows that more than 500,000 students are in overcrowded schools.
The 37 projects would create an estimated 21,000 classroom seats.
Among the packed buildings is PS 169 in Queens, which is at 172 percent of its 224-student capacity, according to Class Size Matters. The $97 million addition now being built won’t open until September 2024.
The $63 million 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 percent of its capacity.
Arthur Goldstein, a Francis Lewis teacher and UFT leader who has long sounded the alarm about the crowded building, said “walking the halls is like an Olympic sport.” But the impact of the delays, he said, depends on how attendance looks in the fall.
“Were all students to come back, it would be disastrous,” he said.