Update: A quote from Board President Sharon Scarpelli was included for the second posting.
GLEN ROCK, NJ – Voters on Tuesday approved a $14.7 million referendum question that will fund four projects throughout Glen Rock’s six-school district.
The referendum passed, according to results reported on the district's website, with the following vote totals including absentees: Yes-1,035 to No-960.
"The Board would like to thank the community for its support in passing the referendum. With this vote and the appointment of our next superintendent, Dr. Brett Charleston, Glen Rock, is better positioned to provide our children with 21st century education and skills to help them succeed in school and in life," Sharon Scarpelli, Board of Education President said in an email statement on March 13. "We look forward to continued community/parental involvement and participation will be an integral part of moving things forward. This Board will continue to oversee the schools in a prudent manner and we acknowledge the importance in representing the whole community in our decision making process."
In order of priority, the project money will fund new air-conditioning units in the district’s four elementary schools; a refurbished media center at Glen Rock Middle/High School; upgrades to the Central School Auditorium; and a spruced up playing field at Alexander Hamilton School.
Because the air-conditioning units were funded via a referendum, the district received 40 cents on the dollar back from the Department of Education in state aid, or $4.5 million, reducing the project cost to roughly $10.2 million and the tax burden from $185.72 to $175.20 per year, or $14.60 per month, on the average home assessed at $563,170. The bond will be paid off in 20 years, according to Business Administrator Michael Rinderknecht.
The air-conditioning units are a crucial part of the project, as district officials and teachers alike have attested to the unsatisfactorily hot and humid temperatures present in a number of elementary school classrooms in warmer months. District leaders said nonworking thermostats resulted in a number of early dismissals and at times, heat stroke among overheated children.
The second part of the project will involve a renovation of the dated media center at Glen Rock Middle/High School. Apart from HVAC upgrades, new carpeting, ADA-compliant handicap ramps and futuristic furniture, the media center – designed by Parette Somjen Architects – will receive a new maker space area to foster creativity in middle school students, in line with 21stCentury learning. The space will be sectioned off by a glass partition that will have a state-of-the-art TV studio for aspiring high school broadcast journalism students on the other side, and additional classroom space.
The auditorium at Central School will also reap the benefits of the bond referendum. A gut renovation is planned that will create new seating, acoustical improvements, the addition of a lift from the hallway to create accessibility to the stage and new flooring. The new auditorium will alleviate congestion at the high school facility, officials said.
Lastly, the playing field at Alexander Hamilton School will also receive a facelift. The field, currently in a state of disrepair, will be getting a new irrigation system in addition to new sod that will regrow a natural grass playing field. A new fence will be installed between the property and the PSE&G right-of-way.
According to the school district’s website, the projects will “support district initiatives that enhance the safety, health and well-being of staff and students, enabling every student to achieve their fullest potential as lifetime learners.”
District architect John Carton told the board in November that if the referendum passes, the media center and auditorium projects are anticipated to go out to bid in October 2019, with construction slated for summer 2020. Carton also stated that work on the field at Hamilton School is proposed for April to July 2020 and based upon a “growing season” that would occur from August to October. A completion date for all projects, he said, is slated for fall 2020.