FLEMINGTON, NJ — When local voters go the polls next week, they’ll be asked to approve a two-question bond referendum proposal.

The referendum, proposed by the Flemington-Raritan Regional School District, represents a $42 million proposal to provide for safety, security and structure upgrades, facilities renovations, and indoor air quality upgrades including air-conditioning (HVAC) and dehumidification systems.

"Our students and staff need and deserve a healthy, safe atmosphere for learning," said School District Superintendent Kari McGann in a press release. While the school board annually budgets for ongoing maintenance, the scope of these projects is too extensive to fund within the district's operating budget, she said.

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The state has granted $14 million toward the project, but the district receives the funding only if voters approve the referendum.

"Over the last several years, the district has provided short-term repairs to aging facilities, including patching roofs; however, many of our systems are passed their life cycle," McGann said. "Updated roofs, windows, life-safety systems, and HVAC systems are essential to the safe and healthy operation of schools."

Question One on the ballot totals $21.755 million and includes safety, security and structure upgrades at Barley Sheaf, Copper Hill, Francis A. Desmares, J.P. Case, Reading-Fleming and Robert Hunter schools.

The proposal provides security upgrades and improvements including cameras, equipment, communication system and door/alarm upgrades; site improvements including parking lot upgrades, sidewalk, curb, fencing and drainage improvements; roof replacement at Barley Sheaf, Copper Hill, Francis A. Desmares, Reading-Fleming and Robert Hunter schools; and window replacement and building envelope repairs at Reading-Fleming school.

Question Two provides for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) upgrades including air-conditioning and humidity control measures at Barley Sheaf, Copper Hill, Francis A. Desmares, Reading-Fleming and Robert Hunter schools. Question Two on the ballot totals $20.308 million and can proceed only if Question One is also approved by voters.

The referendum includes updates for all six district schools:

Barley Sheaf Elementary School

  • Partial Roof Replacement: remove existing roof system, drains and trim and provide new multi-layered built up roof with new drainage systems, flashings and trim for watertight conditions.
  • Site and drainage improvements: new overlay with striping.  Some pavement will be reconstructed. Replace curbing and walkways where required.
  • Security upgrades: additional interior and exterior security cameras, new phone system with paging, public address, outside calling and emergency communication with lock-down and emergency communication system. Outside door “ajar” sensors.
  • HVAC upgrades: New cooling and dehumidification systems to appropriately cool and dehumidify the school.

Francis A. Desmares Elementary School

  • Partial Roof Replacement (single story wings): remove existing roof system, drains and trim and provide new multi-layered built up roof with new drainage systems, flashings and trim for watertight conditions.
  • Site and drainage improvements: new overlay with striping.  Some pavement will be reconstructed. Replace curbing and walkways as required. Supplemental drainage.
  • Security upgrades: additional interior and exterior security cameras, new phone system with paging, public address, outside calling and emergency communication with lock-down and emergency communication system. Outside door “ajar” sensors.
  • HVAC upgrades: New cooling and dehumidification systems to appropriately cool and dry.

Robert Hunter Elementary School

  • Roof Replacement: remove existing roof system, drains and trim and provide new multi-layered built up roof with new drainage systems, flashings and trim for watertight conditions.
  • Site and drainage improvements: new overlay with striping.  Some pavement will be reconstructed. Replace curbing and walkways as required.
  • Security upgrades: additional interior and exterior security cameras, new phone system with paging, public address, outside calling and emergency communication with lock-down and emergency communication system. Outside door “ajar” sensors.
  • HVAC upgrades: New cooling and dehumidification systems to appropriately cool and dehumidify the school.

Reading-Fleming Intermediate School

  • Partial roof replacement: remove existing roof system, drains and trim and provide new multi-layered built up roof with new drainage systems, flashings and trim for watertight conditions.
  • Site and drainage improvements: new overlay with striping.  Some pavement will be reconstructed. Replace curbing and walkways as required. Rebuild concrete areaway light wells with new guardrails Replace loading dock. Replace stairs and ramp. Replace fencing and gates.
  • Window replacement: replace windows with architectural grade, aluminum windows.
  • Security upgrades: additional interior and exterior security cameras, new phone system with paging, public address, outside calling and emergency communication with lock-down and emergency communication system. Outside door “ajar” sensors.
  • HVAC upgrades: New cooling and dehumidification systems to appropriately cool and dehumidify the school.

J.P. Case Middle School

  • Site and drainage improvements: new overlay with striping.  Some pavement will be reconstructed. Replace curbing and walkways as required.
  • Security upgrades: additional interior and exterior security cameras, new phone system with paging, public address, outside calling and emergency communication with lock-down and emergency communication system. Outside door “ajar” sensors.

"As the district plans for the future, it's important to remember that our community is continuing to grow," McGann said. Nearly 700 new housing units have been approved in Raritan Township, including the following developments: Mountain View, the Willows, Raritan Town Square, an area by HealthQuest, the Enclave and a subdivision on Old York Road. One is scheduled to open this spring and another anticipates breaking ground in late spring.

If voters approve the referendum, the project could take several years to complete. "Stages of the repairs and renovations might be staggered to accommodate a carefully-phased construction duration," said McGann. "The construction period may extend over two summers and two full school years."

At Monday’s school board meeting, McGann showed aerial drone footage of school roofs along with district enrollment and housing development updates.

To view the full presentation, click here. For details about the Nov. 5 Bond Referendum, click here.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Election Day.