PLAINFIELD, NJ – Barlow Elementary received an early Christmas present with the unveiling of its new Cafetorium and performing facility. Numerous parents and students joined the Superintendent, administrators, Board of Education members for the celebration and tour of the new facility.
The new 11,700 square foot addition to the existing school building is a state of the art, multi-purpose space with modern amenities such as blue tooth technology and automatic window shades, will be able to host athletics, events and food services. The existing gym was renovated to incorporate air conditioning, new lighting and a longer more modern basketball court with padded walls.
According to Principal Wilson Aponte the project took a year and a half from inception to reality, saying “It took a long time, but we are here tonight. From this room we are expecting great things. We will see the new cafeteria and the new gym and it is all connected by love. It has been a process.” During a tour of the new gym, Aponte described the previous layout where the old stage was located and how the room served as an all-purpose space that had to be constantly transformed to accommodate student meals and gym classes.
“We are blessed to have this facility in our district and it is important that our students have the opportunity to thrive in a state-of-the-art facility, and I am grateful that the board had the vision to move this project forward,” stated Superintendent Dr. Diana Mitchell.
BOE President Richard Wyatt recounted his years as a young student attending Barlow in 1992 and how the gymnasium felt big to him at that time but as he grew older, the school became smaller. Fast forward twenty-seven years later and now he is honored to be a part of a board that helped to create the facility. “Life is forever evolving, so we do our youth a disservice by not providing state-of-the-art facilities” Wyatt stated.
“No exceptions, no alibis, no excuses” is how BOE member John Campbell who spearheaded the project as a buildings and grounds facilities committee member, described the process which started many years ago leading up to the building completion. “Look at this beautiful building. This is what our kids deserve; a place where teachers can teach and kids can learn” and gave credit to "a team of willing, qualified people who withstood the storm,” allowing the project to come in under budget and ahead of schedule.
Kenneth Karle, Architect LAN Associates, described some major structural changes that were needed while trying not to disrupt the students during the year and stated that with the addition of air conditioning they were able to design and create “a good environment that builds a good education.”
The ribbon cutting also included student performances by Barlow Inspirational Dancers and Al Ritmo de Barlow and the guests enjoyed refreshments.
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