NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – The first Board of Education (BOE) meeting held at the High School Media Center started with a ribbon cutting ceremony, tour of the renovated facilities and kudos to the many individuals who made the project successful. The BOE’s working session meeting took place on Thursday, Oct. 12.

High School Principal Lauren Zirpoli and Business Administrator James Testa had the honor of cutting the ribbon at the entrance to the renovated media center. Middle School Principal Karin Kidd led the tour to the new STEM classroom and the renovated gym. There is a new entrance to the gym at the middle school section of the building. Previously students had to intersect with high schoolers in order to make it to the gym. The renovated gym features new flooring and sound boards.

Zirpoli took the tour over to the new high school STEM wing which consists of four classrooms including the Industrial Arts classroom, lab and classrooms designed for STEM related classes. The Graphic Design classroom features professional drafting tables and attached computer screens. Another classroom will have a removable divider so that two separate classes can be taught simultaneously. Without the divider the large space can be used for STEM competitions or other STEM related events.

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There is also a new science lab next to the media center. The media center has three separate instructional spaces as well as one complete separate classroom that is accessible from both the new lab and media center. Superintendent David Miceli explained that this space will also be used for teachers’ professional development events.

Miceli noted that the planning of the media center started nine years ago, first with the help of the Education Foundation. The project was eventually included in the referendum package. For security reasons all shelving is placed along the walls. The yellow and gray hued media center features movable furniture and comfortable reading and working areas as well as updated technology.

Miceli took time to thank all those involved in the project, most of which were present at the meeting. The guests included Kevin and Rita Settembrino of Settembrino Architects who designed the renovated spaces and “did every single aspect right”. Kevin Settembrino said that he is glad that the board and the students are happy with “the fantastic space.”

Miceli also thanked the Construction Manager Keith Kamitian of Remington & Vernick Engineers “who added value to this project.” Despite his long commute “Keith was here all hours pushing all the contractors” to keep the project on schedule. Bridget Soyka Smith and Ingrid Narvaez of Soyka Smith Design Studios, the individuals behind the fashion and furniture design, were also commended for their “patience.”

Staff members Alex Menard, the District Manager of Information Systems, and Sandy Andersen, the District Technology Specialist, received special thanks for their role in the technological aspects of the project as did Zirpoli and Kidd for their support during the construction and for making sure all students had an adequate instructional space while the construction was going on. Miceli also expressed his gratitude for Testa who was the “in-house” construction manager during the entire renovation project.

Board President Adam Smith thanked the administration, board members and the community who agreed to spend $16 million for the project.  Now the community can be proud of the 21st century facilities, he said.