Letters to the Editor

Renovation Needed at Chatham Middle School Auditorium


Dear Editor,

Like the vast majority of voting residents of the Chathams this year, I voted No to the $24.8 million referendum for capital upgrades to our schools. I especially opposed spending $10.8 million for a new performing arts facility at Chatham Middle School.

But renovations to the 1958 auditorium at CMS are clearly needed. If the Board of Education recommends the expenditure of $3.8 million for the project (which is 65 percent less than originally proposed), I will undoubtedly support it. It would be a fiscally prudent compromise to benefit our students and our community. With these funds, the asbestos flooring would be removed, the old roofing would be replaced to avoid potential issues in the near future, a new HVAC system would make the facility a comfortable four-season performance facility and handle the air quality during assemblies and performances. Students and adults with disabilities would gain improved access to performance and technical spaces and specified seating, the crude sound and lighting system would receive a long-overdue upgrade, and the shabby, torn and stained seating and wall coverings would be replaced. 

Sign Up for E-News

One additional note on the asbestos flooring: Because of its age and wear-and-tear, each year recently the district has had to replace portions of it because of chipping and pieces being dislodged, which concerns me because that is what could potentially put asbestos into the air as time goes on.

The $3.8 million budget would provide for the replacement of the asbestos flooring with safe, modern materials.  I believe these are the key reasons why 67 percent of the nearly 1,300 Chatham residents who responded to the recent Board of Education Survey opted for the $3.8 million upgrade option.

The CMS Auditorium’s overall structural space and acoustics were designed quite well back 1958 – it has “good bones.”  That is a key reason why the Metropolitan Orchestra of New Jersey (which recently affiliated with The Adult School of the Chathams, Madison and Florham Park) decided to hold its 2015-2016 concerts at the CMS Auditorium, rather than in Millburn.

The Adult School was already being hosted by CMS, so it’s logical for the affiliated orchestra to perform there too. Importantly, the Orchestra’s website cites the “state of the art CMS band room” as another reason why it is relocating. The band room was renovated in the 1980s and won’t be touched by new spending. That investment has yielded an enormous benefit to our students, supporting the outstanding quality of our district’s award-winning band program. That renovation has even helped draw a community orchestra to our town. This is a case-in-point of why we must continue to invest in the critical physical spaces that our students use, especially main facilities like the CMS Auditorium that ALL students use.   

A compromise investment of $3.8 million to bring the CMS Auditorium up to the times, and to the safety of the times, would be a very sensible proposal by the Board of Education. As a staunch fiscal conservative, I would support it.


Joe Basralian

Chatham Township

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer. Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Fri, April 27, 2:00 PM

Madison Area YMCA - Kroll Conference Room, Madison

Blood Drive

Giving Back Health & Wellness Other

Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Chatham Township Municipal Building, Chatham

A Tour of Chatham Township and Green Village

Arts & Entertainment

A Week at the Library of The Chathams Monday, April 9 – Sunday, April 15, 2018


The program will be held on Thursdays, May 3 through June 21 – 1:30 to 2:30 pm

Registration required

For anyone wanting to improve their English language skills, we are starting our first ever ESL program.  The program will be conducted by Language Education and Resource Network (LEARN) and volunteer tutors for 8 weeks.  Further sessions may be ...

Spending More Per Pupil Doesn’t Guarantee Additional or Enhanced Success

April 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

At the April 16th Board of Education meeting, Board member Sal Arnuk stated: “I am ashamed to see the district at the bottom of the list in per-pupil spending.”  On the contrary, Board member Arnuk should be exceedingly proud of how our Board of Education is able to consistently be ranked as the top school district in our state at the cost it currently spends per ...

Financial Planning for Recent College Graduates from Chatham Wealth Management

April 20, 2018


It’s that time of the year when many families are excitedly getting ready to attend their children’s college graduation. Where has the time gone? It feels like just yesterday that we were dropping them off for freshman year.

Well, time does pass quickly and now would be a really good time to give your graduating children some savings and investment advice. Below are a ...