HOLMDEL, NJ - The Holmdel community recently celebrated the successful completion of their 40 million school referendum project. The project was completed on time and on budget - during a worldwide pandemic. The Holmdel Board of Education met regularly during the process, had to replace the original architect, and interviewed multiple construction managers before making the selection of Greyhawk, to manage the process. Bids were revised, reworked and rebid in certain cases, and there were many zigs and zags along the way. The public was kept informed throughout, however, during the monthly public board meetings.
An exciting new education journey has begun and the Holmdel Board of Education gathered together to mark the occasion on October 1. The members of the 2020 Holmdel Board of Education include Vicky Flynn, Michael Sockol, Jamie Collins, Elizabeth Urbanski, Brian Foster, Joe Hammer, Peter Reddy, Eileen Briamonte and Terence Wall.
Vicky Flynn, President of the Holmdel Board of Education, shared her thoughts. "The voters passed the referendum overwhelmingly," Flynn said. "In the past, they had trouble passing a project that was $20 million. We were really concerned it wouldn't get passed, but we knew these schools had to be upgraded to get us through the 21st century and for the level of education that we provide here." said Flynn.
VIDEO: Watch Holmdel Board of Education President, Vicky Flynn:
"When we first started this, everybody was thinking 'there's no way $40 million will get passed,'" Flynn said. "When we (Board Members of Education) really engaged with the community, talked to them, got their input, explained why this would work and why this would help, we were really successful. We were very conservative about our costs," Flynn said. "Every year we reinvest money into the district. We're always carefully investing in our budget so that we can do things on our own, but with these major projects we needed the community's help. Our (board members') decisiveness and trust in each other while working together is what makes this all possible," Flynn said.
VIDEO: Watch Holmdel Board of Education Vice President Mike Sockol:
Michael Sockol, Vice President of the Holmdel Board of Education and longest serving board member commented, "Tonight what we're doing is we're affirming the power of community. The ability for us to put aside our differences and to focus our energies on the common good. At the end of the day, what we're really doing here this evening, is recognizing that our most valuable asset, our most valuable resource is our children. Benjamin Franklin once said, 'An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest,'" Sockol said. "And that's what we've done here. We've invested in our children."
Dr. Lee Seitz, Interim Superintendent of Holmdel Township Schools, said, "I've been involved with a number of referendums, some larger than this, some smaller than this, but I'm amazed at how this referendum came together in light of the COVID-19 crisis. The majority of referendums are late and over budget. That's why this is so remarkable. People weren't working, supplies weren't being provided and yet the project was still finished on time and on budget."
The program began at the William R. Satz School at 6:30p.m. and moved for a second ceremony at Holmdel High School, where speeches and presentations were given.
The Holmdel Board of Education, school administrators, teachers, contractors and others gathered to ring in a new era of educational excellence.
The major improvements include:
- New entrances at Satz and Holmdel High School for all students
- Science labs 7th grade and 8th grade
- New turf field at Roggy Stadium
- Music room renovation at Satz
- New lockers
- Facade restoration and paving
- Main office addition at Satz
- Cafeteria improvements
- Physical Education addition
- Engineering wing - robotics
- Engineering wing - lab
- Media center and more
Over the past three summers, the facilities throughout the District have been transformed. The completed projects support Holmdel’s well-earned tradition of providing superior academic outcomes for all students. "Holmdel 2020 is an initiative that we, as a board, have been working very hard on for years. It demonstrates the level of commitment and foresight that everyone on this board has. Being able to complete a project of this magnitude, at this time, and with the support of our community and administration, really sets us apart from any other school in the State of New Jersey," said Holmdel School Board President Victoria Flynn.
After a brief ribbon cutting in front of the W.R. Satz School entrance, guests took a walking tour around the exterior of W.R. Satz School and Holmdel High School to view the completed additions. A second ribbon cutting took place at the entrance of Holmdel High School with remarks provided by Victoria Flynn, Board of Education President and Mike Sockol, Board of Education Vice President. Monmouth County Freeholder Patrick Impreveduto was in attendance and presented the group with a proclamation from the county.
According to Michael Petrizzo, Business Administrator at Holmdel Township Schools, "This is probably a six year plus project, between planning and execution. The work started in summer of 2018 so this was our third summer of doing work related to the referendum," Petrizzo said. "It's been a process." Petrizzo remarked on the feedback from students; "I love getting a kick out of the students who come here, especially the 8th graders who are on the other side at the high school and will come back in and say, 'Whoa, this is great!'" Petrizzo said. "That's what it's all about."
Eileen Briamonte, a Board of Education Member, said, "The nice thing is that the project touched upon a lot of things. I like all the new technology, the engineering labs and the robotics room. I think it (Holmdel 2020 Initiative) keeps the school competitive with the academies,"
Board of Education member Terence Wall, said, "I'm proud to have been part of the team that delivered a 40 million referendum on time and on budget. As a graduate of Holmdel High School and lifelong resident, it's poignant for me to deliver results to the next generation."
Board of Education member Peter Reddy, said, "This school started in 1972, so this is, by far, the biggest project since the original construction," Reddy said. "For $40 million, it baffles me how much we got done. This (Holmdel 2020 Initiative) cost taxpayers less than a couple of hundred dollars a year, total, for a $40 million project that got a lot done. Education is a three-prong thing," Reddy said. "You need the teachers, the courses and the facilities, which we now have."
So now it's up to the students and teachers to reap the benefits. Stephanie Dailey, a senior who has been in Holmdel school district since she was 8 years old, shared her thoughts."It's a bummer that we're leaving, but we're very excited to see everything," Dailey said. "I wish I could experience Satz (William R. Satz middle School) again to go through all the engineering programs," Dailey said. "The new rooms are really nice."
The event concluded with a ceremonial lighting of the entrance to Holmdel High School.