School board to view plan for using rooms

West Windsor-Plainsboro has nearly a dozen soon-to-be empty classrooms at the Upper Elementary School.

By: Gwen Runkle
   The West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional Board of Education is expected to take a look tonight at what might be done with nearly a dozen soon-to-be empty classrooms at the Upper Elementary School.
   The architectural firm The Hillier Group is expected to present the school board with a plan to use some of those classrooms to house the district’s professional development institute and technology department offices, currently in Thomas R. Grover Middle School.
   "Grover Middle School’s enrollment is growing," said Gerri Hutner, district spokeswoman. "So moving the departments from Grover to the (Upper Elementary) school would allow for additional teaching space at Grover."
   She said The Hillier Group would provide cost estimates for such a move at tonight’s meeting and would specify what sort of renovations would need to be done along with how many classrooms at the Upper Elementary School, soon to be known as the Millstone River School, would be used.
   When the move was suggested to the school board at its last meeting, reaction was mixed. Several school board members said that if such a plan were considered, any classroom renovations would have to be easily reversible.
   The question of what to do with space at the Upper Elementary School first surfaced during the school board’s controversial elementary grade configuration debate when it was decided the district would go with a kindergarten-through-third-grade and fourth-and-fifth-grade system with two 4-5 schools.
   And it has come to the forefront again as the board deals with implementing its recently approved elementary redistricting plan.
   Under that plan, nearly a dozen classrooms at the Upper Elementary School will be left vacant when many of the school’s fourth- and fifth-grade students attend the Village School next year.
   In other business tonight, the school board is expected to vote on whether to allow high school seniors to eat lunch off school grounds starting next fall. The school board recently reacted favorably to this measure pending an opinion on the legality of the proposal.
   The school board also is expected to hear a presentation on draft curricula for four new science courses and have a second reading on the district’s administration of medication policy.