Essex County News

$66.5 Million September 2017 School District Referendum Proposed by Nutley Board of Education

Credits: John Lee / TAPinto Nutley
Credits: John Lee / TapInto Nutley

NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley voters could head to the polls this September to decide yes or no on the first of two bond sales totaling $65,500,000 for school construction projects.

The proposed bonds total would fund construction projects at four Nutley Public schools:  JHW Middle School, Yantacaw and Washington Elementary Schools, and Nutley High School to ease overcrowding and expand education opportunities in all Nutley schools. 

Superintendent Julie Glazer said, “The plan is to have shovels in the ground in June 2018” if the plan is approved. Students would attend classes in the new proposed classrooms beginning in 2020.

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Construction plans presented for the high school include additional physical education/multi-purpose space and renovation of the media center/TV studio space. Cost is approximately $8.75 million.

Walker, Yantacaw and Washington plans all include additional classrooms. Thirty-two total classrooms will be added to the district if voters approve the referendums.

20 new classrooms are part of the middle school expansion plan. It is the costliest project estimated at $36.7 million. The Yantacaw expansion is estimated at $15.6 million with 6 new classrooms. Washington expansion cost of $6.95 million will include a 3-story addition with new 6 classrooms.

In addition to classrooms, plans at some schools include multi-purpose rooms, toilet facilities, kitchens and office reconfigurations.

Plans at both Yantacaw and Washington will eliminate the existing classroom trailers.  Superintendent Glazer stated that feedback she received from the community included ‘make sure whatever happens, we get rid of the trailers and we don’t bring them back.’

The Board worked with Rubino DiCaro architects to cut the proposed construction costs from $96 Million to $68.9 Million. $65.5 million to be bonded plus $2.4 million from the district capital reserve account.

The total is based on cost estimates for plans as presented and has a built in 10% contingency as required by NJ state law.

Several parents and citizens participated in the one hour Q & A. One parent expressed concern for the lack of showers in the girl’s locker rooms at the high school. Denis Williams, Nutley High School principal said: “I think ’84 was the last time the showers in the lockers were functional in the High School.”

Superintendent Glazer explained that after assessing all district needs, the initial cost of proposed construction was $96 Million. The Board worked closely with the architects to reduce the work and scale down the projects while focusing on the most important needs for today and the next 25 years.

Detailed architectural plans shown to the approximately 75 attendees are available at the school board office and at each of the schools. The District website “Town Hall Information” section contains all information pertaining to the potential referendum. The district will be continuously updating the Q & A from all forums as well as those submitted to the district email address – Due to security issues, the construction plans will not be available on the district website.

All Board of Education members were present along with parents, teachers, homeowners, board of education staff and community members. The second forum is tonight at 7pm at Lincoln School Auditorium.

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