BASKING RIDGE, NJ -- Plans to build a ‘Tribute Walk’ outside the Ridge High School Wellness Center are taking shape, but the closing of schools in the coronavirus pandemic has made the timeline uncertain.

The project will be a combined effort by the Bernards Township school district and the Ridge Sports Foundation.

The Board of Education wants to improve the drainage and asphalt-surfaced area of about 1,000 square feet outside the fitness center as part of its long-term maintenance plans. The center is on the backside of the high school, with doors onto the Lee Field and track.

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The sports foundation wants a Tribute Walk of engraved paving stones as a fundraising project. The group has funded capital improvements of facilities, gifts, grants and scholarships for deserving student-athletes at Ridge High.

Following the agreement in March, the school has commissioned and completed a maximum $7,000 engineering study plan. The foundation has committed to fund $3,500 to the board within 90 days from the date the study is completed. The completed study will be used to base construction bids, which are being sought, said Superintendent Nick Markarian by email.

Once construction bids are obtained, and the Tribute Walk project can be completed at not more than $17,000, the project will proceed. In this case, the foundation will commit to fund the remaining $3,500 for the engineering study and an additional $2,400 for construction administration services as long as construction begins by July 15, according to the March agreement.

If bids are more than $17,000, the parties agree to discuss options for the Tribute Walk. In the event the Tribute Walk does not proceed at this time, the board agreed to provide the foundation with the opportunity to participate in any project or repair for the areas covered by the study.

Discussion with the sports foundation, which helps the school by raising money for capital projects and student scholarships, over where and how to cooperate with their desire for a Tribute Walk have gone on for more than a year. An early idea, determined to be less feasible, was to build a walkway in front of the high school football field home bleachers.