Until the late 1930s, the majority of schools were designed in one of several historical styles, often on a monumental scale. In 1937, the Board of Education commissioned the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to perform a survey of schools and provide a set of recommendations to improve the design of new schools. Following a moratorium on construction during World War II, these recommendations were quickly implemented.
Nearly coinciding with the 1937 AIA report, Eric Kebbon would succeed Walter C. Martin as the Superintendent of School Buildings in 1938. Following the pause in construction and design, Kebbon would be able to start to fully implement the AIA report. The most notable of these recommendations – that schools should be built no higher than three stories, especially in outlying districts.
PS 200 Q’s styling is the outcome of a 1937 report by the AIA, which pushed for more modern approaches to public school design. Constructed between 1951 and 1953, the school is located on 164th Street and 71st Avenue in Queens. It is a characteristic of schools built in the post-war era, classified by its continuous vertical bays at entrances and fire stairs, with limestone surrounds and brick walls, stripped of ornament. Much of the styling makes references to Art Deco. The building is a reinforced concrete structure with solid brick masonry infill and facade. It has three floors, a basement and multiple-level flat roofs, including those for the main building, gymnasium, utility rooms and bulkheads. PS 200 Q also incorporates curtain wall systems at the building’s main entrances, constructed from brake-formed aluminum components. These aluminum windows were especially common in schools of the 1950s, perhaps attributed to the number of skilled metal workers employed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, in need of jobs at the end of World War II.
Nelligan White recommended a masonry, window, and entrance due to corrosion, efflorescence, and various other conditions common for a building of its age.