NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Pathways Campus is ready to become home to hundreds of students from Lincoln Annex when in-person instruction resumes.
In fact, parts of the building at 40 Van Dyke Ave. might seem familiar to a lot of the students who will eventually be calling it home.
Frank LoDolce, the school district’s director of facility design and construction, told TAPinto New Brunswick that many pieces of Lincoln Annex have found a new home at the Pathways Campus.
Everything from hundreds of lockers and newer desks to kitchen equipment have made their way from Lincoln Annex to the Pathways Campus.
The repurposing of pieces of Lincoln Annex goes down to even the doors that have been installed to separate the wing that will be home to the Lincoln Annex students in grades 4-8 from the wing where the P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) students study.
“We were able to repurpose a lot of the doors, especially the glass doors we have because we have separated the Lincoln Annex facility from the P-TECH facility with the aluminum storefront doors that came from the breezeway at Lincoln Annex,” LoDolce said.
Lincoln Annex students will call the Pathways Campus home for about three years, under a sweeping, $750 million plan.
Lincoln Annex, a 60-year-old school that PTO president Jimmie Staton said in June resembled a prison and suffered from a broken stairwell, exposed pipes and wiring, a cramped cafeteria, insufficient parking, a lack of a playground and other issues, will be razed.
In its place, the state’s first free-standing cancer hospital will be built with skybridges connecting it to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
A three-story, $55 million replacement school will be built on four-plus acres of vacant land at 50 Jersey Ave.
Officials estimate it will take three years to build the replacement school.
LoDolce said district officials worked during the summer to get the Pathways Campus ready for students. Just weeks before the school year was scheduled to start, Gov. Phil Murphy gave each school district the freedom to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as it best saw fit. They have been allowed to choose in-person or remove instruction, or a hybrid model.
Although the New Brunswick Board of Education opted to utilize remote instruction for at least the first two marking periods, the Pathways Campus stands ready to host its new students.
LoDolce said that the building has been cleaned and painted, and new flooring has been installed.
He debunked the oft-repeated refrain from critics of the plan to have Lincoln Annex students attend the Pathways Campus that the facility at 40 Van Dyke Ave. does not have a kitchen.
“It had a kitchen, has a kitchen and we’ve modified the kitchen,” LoDolce said. “We’ve increased the design over there. We’ve upgraded the serving lines and the kitchen equipment. We’ve repurposed some of the kitchen equipment from Lincoln Annex to that building – servers, refrigeration, coolers. And it has a full cafeteria, a large cafeteria. The cafeteria is larger than Lincoln Annex’s cafeteria and full height, meeting all DOE (state Department of Education) requirements.”
The cafeteria and gym will be used by the Lincoln Annex and P-Tech students, but they will be on different schedules, LoDolce said.
The P-TECH program allows students to work simultaneously toward their high school diploma and associate’s degree. The program focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum and graduation can occur in grade 14 (the sixth year of the program) or earlier, depending on the student.