Education

South Brunswick: District Administrators Publish ‘Unauthorized’ BOE Office Renovation Pics

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Credits: Photos Admisitrators published on Twitter
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SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Apparently taking and publishing ‘authorized’ pictures of the new conference room on the second floor of the Board of Education’s Blackhorse Lane office building is in the eye of whom the photographer is.

Last week, TAP Into South Brunswick and Cranbury Town Editor Charles W. Kim took a tour of the facility at 231 Blackhorse Lane to see renovations to the second and third floor, costing the district an estimated $280,000.

On Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Dr. Jerry Jellig conducted the approximately 20-minute tour of a state of the art second floor conference room named “Odin Hall,” and both a small waiting area and a room built between the offices of Dr. Jellig and his secretary Madeline Daniels on the third floor.

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Dr. Jellig said then that he could not allow the editor to take photos or video of the tour because he “alone” could not “authorize” taking photos inside a school building.

TAP Into South Brunswick and Cranbury abided by his wishes and did not photograph either areas, but did send an email on Wednesday to all board members asking what the policy was to take such photos in the office building and any other school the news organization may be asked to cover something in.

There has not been a reply to that email.

The apparent prohibition, however, did not stop TAP Into South Brunswick and Cranbury from covering and photographing a cancer fighting dance hosted at Crossroads South Middle School on Wednesday at the school’s invitation.

It also did not stop other district administrators from publishing photos of the conference area on their public Twitter accounts.

Several administrators posted photos of the conference room, usually during one of the many meetings the room accommodates.

Some of those photos, published by the individual administrators publicly on Twitter, appear with this story, giving most members of the public their first look at the room that included about $48,000 in new office furniture and a $35,000 audio/video system.

During the tour, Dr. Jellig said that the room can hold about 60-70 people and is used every day for staff meetings and various group professional development sessions.

Photos of the third floor renovations, including the pass through room, identified as a “Kit” on official plans filed with the South Brunswick Township building department could not be found on any of the social media feeds.

That room had doors on both ends and a tile floor.

It appeared to be roughly six-feet wide and about 10-12 feet long.

The back wall of the room had windows to the outside and a counter opposite with an upper and lower group of cabinets.

The counter contained a fax machine and a Keurig coffee maker, with a mini refrigerator tucked away in a bottom compartment on one end.

Dr. Jellig opened one of the cabinets to show reams of copier paper and markers, which used to be kept outside in the hallway, he said.

There is no sink, or other running water in the room.

Dr. Jellig said he did not know why the area was marked as a “Kit” on the plans filed with the township, and that it was storage more for his secretary than for himself.

Late last year, the board voted to approve renovations to the three-story facility in order to use portions of the building that had been closed off to the district during the rental period.

Those renovations included a conference area on the second floor, a waiting area and what could be described as a “kitchenette” on the third floor between Dr. Jellig’s office and the office of his secretary Madeline Daniels.

At the last board meeting, Board President Dr. Stephen Parker said that the renovations were planned for a while and included significant work to the heating and air conditioning system, which caused the renovations to come in around $30,000 more than initial estimates.

The district purchased the building in 2014 for $4.8 million after renting it for a number of years.

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