Beach Channel Cleans Up
Beach Channel, like many other schools, suffered severe damage in Sandy. Beach Channel’s damage, however, extended well beyond its campus. Oil tanks used to heat the school burst in the storm causing oil to spill into Jamaica Bay.
Now, nearly $5 million dollars is coming to complete repairs and reimburse the School Construction Authority (SCA) for much of the work it’s completed. The money, coming via a FEMA grant, was secured with the help of Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder.
While some of the money will be reimbursements for repair work already completed, the School Construction Authority will have discretion to make improvements to the school including flood proofing.
Currently, the ballfield is undergoing repair. Pipes are being replaced under parts of the track and other areas. Once that work is done, additional monies are coming via Nike, the sports company. Nike is expected to donate a million dollars for upgrades.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, nearly 30,000 gallons of oil were stored at the school when Sandy struck but there was no record of just how much spilled into the bay. The DEC and contractors hired by the SCA collected what they could in the days and weeks after the Storm.
Schumer said. “Beach Channel High School was hit very hard by the hurricane, and tremendous environmental damage was caused as a result of floodwater and heavy winds.” Gillibrand said, “Federal investment is vital to help cleanup and restore Jamaica Bay and give our schools the tools they need to rebuild.”
While the extent of oil spill remains somewhat of a mystery, Beach Channel High School, which opened in 1973, will be reimbursed for a number of expenditures which occurred after the storm including: the rental and installation of temporary power generation, including the staging of 27 generator rentals for other area schools; rental and installation of a temporary boiler and fuel oil tank to heat the school; and various fire safety installations and oversight measures to keep students and faculty safe.
In September, 2013, Schumer and Goldfeder also announced $5,277,661 in federal FEMA funding for the SCA to support repair work at various public schools throughout Queens that were damaged by Sandy, including P.S. 43Q The School by the Sea, and Goldie Maple Academy/PS 198Q.