July 28, 2014 at 6:55 AM
LIVINGSTON, NJ - Livingston Public Schools is currently expanding buildings of several schools. Thus far, footings have been poured and crews continue to work through student summer break and will continue throughout the school year, with expected completion by mid-2015.
“The school district would always like to see things be ahead of schedule but right now we are on schedule,” said Interim Superintendent of Schools Jim O’Neill. “We have a very good contractor and are confident the projects will be done to a very high standard.”
Among the school construction sites are Collins, Riker Hill and Harrison elementary schools where new media centers will be added on and current media center space will be transformed into new classrooms. Classrooms will also be added to Burnet Hill and Hillside.
The school construction project, which will cost $18.2 million, was approved by Livingston voters in March 2013 and will come with many benefits to the school system. By creating more space, the new areas will reduce reliance on soft-borders (a policy that allows administrators to redistrict school boundaries if and when overcrowding occurs), reduce class sizes, and provide flexibility to meet the demands of future enrollment increases that are expected from planned housing developments around town.
Updating the libraries, which are currently more than 50 years old, will also provide sufficient space for large group instruction and access to technology.
Even though the construction is expected to last through the upcoming school year, it will not likely disrupt day to day school operations.
“Construction projects obviously make some noise but the great majority of the work to be done is adjacent to the school and will not be terribly disruptive to daily routines,” O’Neill said. “Once the additions are finished some rooms will need to be retrofitted but that part of the project will not take long.”
“All of the work being done is necessary to accommodate our enrollment; provide adequate media centers for 21st century learning activities as well as classes for special services. We obviously look forward to the completion of the projects but we understand any inconvenience we experience this year will be more than offset in the years to come,” O'Neill said.
The completed construction will also bring full ADA compliance to the older portion of Livingston High School by creating accommodations for disabled students and adults. That work is also taking place this summer and will resume in summer 2015.