RARITAN, NJ - Somerset County is planning a monument for the Washington School, on First Avenue, once the building itself is torn down.
The school has been owned by Somerset County for years, and the borough will be taking ownership of the property for $1. The county has also committed to demolishing the building, at no cost to the borough, because it would cost too much to repair.
The school is expected to be torn down within the next 12 months.
The borough has been discussing options for the property, including building a building for emergency services and providing for recreational facilities.
Engineers with Somerset County presented a plan to the borough council for a monument on the property to recognize the building and its history in Raritan. They have also been coordinating with the historical cultural committee in Raritan to put together a proper monument.
According to design engineer Richard Close, they have identified key components of the school to be commemorated, including an engraved stone with the name of the building, porthole windows in the upper area and the 1935 cornerstone.
“We wanted to incorporate those items into a monument,” he said.
Close said they have created a mock-up of a monument that incorporates a window on the front and back. In addition, he said, they would like to put the cornerstone in the corner of the monument, and include the Washington School engraved stone in the center.
Close said the monument is planned at 16.5 feet high and almost 9 feet wide.
“This is still a preliminary design,” he said.
Raritan Borough Mayor Charles McMullin thanked the engineers for putting this together to commemorate the school that has stood on the site for 81 years.
“It is very thoughtful of you and the county for putting something together, something that will commemorate a very important school,” he said. “It has a lot of memory for the borough.”