Board moves forward on

Dec. referendum

Staff Writer

Staff Writer

METUCHEN — With a December referendum for improvements to borough schools on the way, the Board of Education voted unanimously to authorize EI Associates, Cedar Knolls, to begin rendering the necessary architectural services.

Those services include a design for the expansion of the Moss School playground, development of a design to create a fitness center at the high school, and the development of architectural pre-referendum steps including studies of both facilities and athletic fields needs.

The total cost of the pre-referendum services would not exceed $94,000, according to the board’s resolution.

William Kyle, the board’s director of facilities and capital projects, said, "We’re still in the concept phase."

The majority of the referendum will address needs at the high school.

Some of the most pressing issues were detailed by Kyle at a board meeting in February.

All of the school’s bathrooms are "terribly in need of upgrade," Kyle said, and described the system that runs the cooling fans, heaters and ventilation as "very antiquated, insufficient, and undependable. It needs total reworking."

Also at issue are an electrical system insufficient to handle the school’s power requirements, two boilers that date back to 1956 and 1957, new flooring, seating and a production control booth required for the auditorium, new floors and bleachers for the gymnasium, new ovens and dishwashers for the cafeteria and the fact that all classrooms "need new lighting and windows," Kyle said.

The board voted to table, for the time being, the portion of the resolution that would authorize EI Associates to place temporary modular classrooms at the Campbell School.

The modular classrooms are needed because of the rapid growth of the borough’s first-grade students in recent years.

At the board’s March 30 meeting, Superintendent of Schools Terri Sinatra said, "We’ve had to add an additional first grade the past two years, and anticipate adding another this coming year."

The board will review options for the placement of first-graders at its April 13 open conference meeting. Those options would include moving the first-graders back to the Moss School, installing two modular classrooms, or some combination of the two, Sinatra said.