Francis Lewis High School to Build a New Annex

After years of waiting for a solution to the overcrowding issue, Francis Lewis High School is set to build a new annex that will house eighteen new classrooms, a rooftop greenhouse, locker rooms, a science research lab, and a multi-purpose room. The construction for the new building will begin in February 2018.

“The school has been overcrowded for decades,” Principal Dr. Marmor said. “It’s been a long time waiting to have additional instructional space, so the annex is a very, very welcome addition to the long term survival and health of our school.”

The annex will also be home to a new culinary arts program, where students will learn how to cook and prepare meals in a commercial kitchen classroom. There are future plans to integrate the greenhouse project with the culinary arts classes so that students can cook with fresh grown herbs and vegetables grown in the greenhouse.

“I think this sounds really good because culinary [arts] is something I’ve been wanting to get into,” said Daisy Garcia, a sophomore at Francis Lewis. “I’ve been thinking about it for my future. Now that they’re going to offer this opportunity to other kids, I think that’d be really nice.”

The capacity of Francis Lewis High School was initially built to hold up to 2,500 students, but it now holds over 4,000 students. In order to deal with current overcrowding, Francis Lewis converted rooms not previously used for teaching, including the principal’s office, into classrooms. Trailers outside of the school are also used for extra classroom space. Students stated they believe the additional classrooms in the new annex will help with overcrowding.

“It will give students more class opportunities and it might give them more space,” said sophomore Keony Chang.

Dr. Marmor agreed with the sentiments expressed by students.

”This certainly is going to help solve our immediate problems and hopefully our medium and even long range problems,” said Dr. Marmor. “It should be comfortable with the addition of these 18 classrooms, plus the other spaces.”

Two of our four tennis courts outside will need to be removed in order to build the annex, and there will be a partial removal of the running track as well. Dr. Marmor stated that these were some of the unfavorable consequences to having an annex built.  

“The annex will definitely pose some negatives,” Dr. Marmor said. “The removal of our two tennis courts will most likely result in the stoppage of our school tennis tournaments.”

Some students expressed unhappy reactions when they heard about the impending construction, from concerns about construction noise to the inability to benefit from the new building.

“It’s not going to be effective for the students who are currently here,” said sophomore Brianna Cornelius. “It was done too late.”

Other students, like Garcia, are concerned that the school’s expansion may lead to more students enrolling in the school which will in turn lead to even more overcrowding.

“When you add more students and more space, it’s just the same thing as when you started, right?” said Garcia.

Dr. Marmor, however, responded to this student concern by stating that this was not the case.

“We as a school community want to be very clear… this building was built to relieve the overcrowding in our school,” said Dr. Marmor. “This building is not being built to create additional capacity to add new students.”

Even with some of the drawbacks, Ariel Salkey, a sophomore at Francis Lewis High School, said she still remains positive about the building of the annex.

“The noise won’t bother me,” said Salkey. “I feel good because our school needs renovation.”

Additional reporting by Maryorie Lopez