On Friday, local elected officials joined education leaders, teachers and students at IS 125 to cut the ribbon on its new $84 million addition. The four-story facility will add 728 seats to the overcrowded middle school.
Before building the annex, IS 125 was operating at 123 percent capacity. Some students even went to class in temporary trailers, and often had to endure rain and snow to get there.
Now, in place of those trailers, a shiny new building stands in its place. The addition contains 22 standard classrooms and five special education classrooms. It also features rooms for art, music, dance and a science lab. It has a library, kitchen, staff lunch and conference room and a guidance office.
“It was absolutely a no-brainer that we get this done,” said Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer. “All of our children, every single child, deserves to come to school in a place as beautiful as this.”
Van Bramer recalled that when he first saw the trailers, as well as students being dismissed next to where the garbage sat outside, he decided “we had to do this.”
“[Students should] not have to go to school, be dropped off and picked up in front of a garbage disposal, in trailers that were dilapidated,” he said.
The work isn’t done yet. According to the School Construction Authority’s Gordon Tung, the project also includes improvements to the main building, including building five new classrooms, a fitness center, a drama room, a new medical suite and a student cafeteria.
For Principal Judy Lynn Mittler, building the annex was a project 18 years in the making. She noted that IS 125 was built in 1925, and throughout its 92-year history, the school has withstood wars, social unrest and even technological changes.
She said in her remarks that what the IS 125 community was celebrating at the ceremony was the “heart and soul” of the school.
“The heart of 125 is the music that plays, the voices that sing, the art that is created, the dancing that is performed and the drama that is portrayed,” Mittler said. “The soul of 125 is the learning that occurs in each classroom, the reaching out of young minds to understand, wonder and think about the future and the new world that is evolving.”
Mittler said the new wing will represent the courage of the school’s namesake, firefighter Thomas J. McCann, a Woodside native who died on September 11 helping “his fellow man and doing what he considered his duty instead of being concerned with his own welfare,” she said.
The annex’s new library will also be named after the late Lydia Krawec, a former teacher. Her family attended the ceremony.
“Thomas J. McCann Intermediate School, and within it, the Lydia Krawec Memorial Library, will always stand with this community as a place that welcomes, educates and celebrates our children,” said Mittler.