Board readies high school expansion plan Addition would open in 2005 if passed by voters this year

Staff Writer

By dave goldberg

Board readies high school expansion plan
Addition would open
in 2005 if passed by
voters this year

NORTH BRUNSWICK — The Board of Education will decide Tuesday on a plan to expand the high school.

"This will be the start of a long process," school board member Robert Haws said. "We will be voting on a plan during the Tuesday night board meeting; this will give the architects a few months to prepare."

MRM Architecture of North Brunswick is preparing drawings to expand the high school.

The board is expecting about an additional 450 students in the high school over the next five years, and the proposed expansion should fit the projected amount of students, according to Haws. The school is expected to see an addition of approximately 80,000 square feet, if the building plan is approved by voters.

Haws said that the referendum needs to be voted on soon because things have to move.

"We want to get the referendum for December and at that point we hope to get it passed," Haws said. "The actual construction wouldn’t start until a full year after the referendum in December of 2002."

The actual construction will take about two years and that is why the board needs to get the referendum passed soon, according to Haws.

"The building will have a two-year process, so it is vital to get it done in December," Haws said. "It is critical to follow the dates. We are going to need to submit the proposal to the state Department of Education no later than September."

Haws also said that there will be a great deal of moving around due to the length of the construction.

"By 2005 the construction will be done, but during the year of construction, the kids are going to be moved around a great deal," Haws said. "You try to disrupt the educational process as little as you can, but it will be going on during the school year."

The plan that Haws is looking at is a basic addition to the oval area of the school.

"There will be a new auditorium, new classroom space and the current auditorium will become the media center," Haws said. "We will also need more cafeteria space or we’ll have to move to an 8 a.m. lunch. There will be too many kids coming to fit them in the current cafeteria. These additions will all be built into the plan."

The school is currently above capacity, according to Haws.

"Essentially, we fit the kids in at this point, but we do need to get it done because we are a little bit over capacity and we expecting almost 500 kids in the next few years," Haws said. "We need room for the many incoming students. It’s going to be more difficult once the construction is under way."

During the construction of the school, Haws said they will be using trailers to fit all of the students.

"By the end of the construction, the facility will not need the trailers," Haws said. "The trailers will start being used in September of 2002 for about three years. They won’t be used in the long run; they will just be there until the work on the school is done."

The board can only plan about five years in advance. "It is less accurate when you try to project numbers too far in advance. We expect the high school developments to meet our needs for a long time," Haws said.

Once the referendum is passed, there are other steps that must be taken before the construction begins on the school.

The next step would be to get drawings for the construction approved by the board and the state.

After the drawings are accepted, the group would have to find a construction team to build the additions. This would require a bidding process.