SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Since the end of June, improvement projects funded through both the general budget and the 2017 referendum have been under way throughout South Plainfield schools.
“I am excited to see the projects moving along as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Dr. Noreen Lishak, superintendent of the South Plainfield School District. “The projects are on schedule, and we are looking forward to welcoming the students and staff back in September.”
Since late June, several district buildings have been closed as crews worked to install new or upgraded heating and ventilation (HVAC) systems. Over the summer, new systems were installed at Franklin, Kennedy, and Riley schools and, at Grant, areas of the school that did not have air conditioning have been upgraded.
Additionally, at South Plainfield Middle School, all of the building’s original windows are in the process of being replaced with the project scheduled to be complete prior to the opening of school.
“I have heard nothing but praise from the community about all of the improvements happening around the school district,” said Jim Giannakis, a member of the South Plainfield Board of Education (SPBOE) and chair of its building and grounds committee. “The middle school windows have given the school a much-needed facelift while improving the energy usage and electric.”
“We have been receiving great feedback from the community about the middle school now that the new windows have been installed, said Lishak, noting that with the updated windows, along with the installation of new heating and air condition systems last year, the district has not only ‘changed the aesthetics of the building but also made it much more efficient.’
“This is great for the South Plainfield community as the middle school is really our flagship school since it is visible to the public on the drive down Plainfield Avenue," continued the superintendent.
Through the referendum budget, the new, ADA-compliant field house at Jost Field is also almost complete and technological upgrades will allow games and other events to be live-streamed from the field. Once the field house is complete, the parking area at Jost Field will be repaved.
“Jost Field is almost complete with the new field house and, with the track, bleachers, and sound system installed last summer, it is a wonderful athletic complex for our students and community to enjoy,” said Giannakis, adding, “I am happy to say we have brought all of this in on time and within our budget.”
“As chair of finance, I am happy to report we have completed many of the referendum projects within the budgeted amount. As a board, we continue to be fiscally responsible with the taxpayers’ dollars and intend to follow the same trend moving forward,” said Tom Cassio, vice president of the SPBOE and chair of its finance committee.
In addition to referendum projects, the district is putting the final changes on various facilities improvements funded through its annual budget.
“South Plainfield is a great community, and the projects and upgrades to our buildings show that the community cares about its schools,” said Lishak.
According to the superintendent, at the high school, the culinary classroom has been completely gutted and renovated, and plans are under way to begin construction on an outdoor classroom and greenhouse. A new sound system has been installed at the high school gymnasium and the media centers at both the high school and middle school have been upgraded with new ceilings, new lighting, and updated infrastructure wiring. Additionally, various beautification projects have been taking place with the entrance to Franklin getting a facelift and there will be new landscaping and flagpoles erected at South Plainfield Middle School.
“We had such a busy couple of months in district working on all the projects in our school buildings. With the opening of school quickly approaching, we need to make sure we are ready for our students and staff to return in a few weeks,” said Lishak. “The maintenance department, along with buildings and grounds, have been working nonstop to complete all of the projects in time.”
“We were really ambitious to try and tackle so many projects this summer. I know it’s not easy tying to squeeze in so many projects during the summer recess, but we have a great team in place to see this through,” said Cassio, noting that it has been a ‘collaborated effort to get these projects done on time, efficiently at or under budget.’ “The South Plainfield residents put their trust in us, and I hope they are happy with the results. Stay tuned. We've got more to do,” he said.
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