Education

Livingston Board of Education Considering Elementary School Construction Plans

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LIVINGSTON, NJ - Elementary school construction plans were presented to members at the Board of Education meeting Tuesday night.

According to Superintendent Brad Draeger, construction is in consideration because the elementary schools are very close, if not at capacity and interest rates for municipal bonds are at historic lows.

“We can delay the construction, but I can assure you, the interest rates will rise,” Draeger said.

Draeger explained that new students also play a role in the amount of available space. “There were 120 new students from July 1, 2012 through the first day of school,” Draeger said.

He then went through every elementary school’s current stats in terms of room capacity and usage.

Burnet Hill, for example, consists of 18 classrooms, one art room/world language room, one computer room/music room, and no extra or available space.

After Draeger’s Powerpoint presentation explaining the benefits of construction, Jerry Rubino, a principal of Di Cara Rubino Architects discussed each elementary school’s perspective plans if approved and their projected costs.

Rubino provided different construction options for each school, based on layout options, quantity of added classrooms, and changes in cost. The projected costs are as follows:

Burnet Hill, three classrooms added-- $2,400,000
Hillside, Option 1, two classrooms added-- $1,900,000
Option 2, five classrooms added-- $4,500,000
Option 3, three classrooms added, design for future second floor-- $2,900,000
Collins, media center, three classrooms-- $3,200,000
Harrison, expanded art room, media center, two classrooms added-- $3,300,000
Riker Hill, media center, three classrooms added—3,300,000

In addition to the above costs, fundamental add-ons in the high school to meet ADA requirements would consist of handicapped accessible restrooms, sinks, water fountains, stairs, ramps, doors and courtyard ramps which would equal $3,100,000.

Board member Barry Funt said he thinks a “tremendously” good case can be made that the construction is necessary.

“We need to figure out what do we need now and what will we need in the future,” Funt said.

After much conversation, the board is currently leaning toward building three media centers and adding classrooms at Burnet Hill and Hillside. The total of adding the media centers, 14 new classrooms and renovations to the high school, would be $18.2 million.

In other business, board members weighed the 2013-2014 calendar options.

The board is currently leaning toward having two snow days, a week-long February break and a Friday high school graduation.

Draeger said he does not favor being allotted two snow days instead of three.

“In history we have always used three snow days besides one year when we used two and one year when we used four,” Draeger said. “Superintendents don’t like two in their pocket.”

The construction plans and calendar for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 will be voted on during the Oct. 29 meeting.

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