Architect presents board with recommendations for upgrades

Staff Writer

COLTS NECK – An architect has informed the Colts Neck K-8 School District Board of Education that the district’s schools are generally in good shape, however, he said there is room for improvement.

The cost of those improvements is unknown at this time.

Architect Ted Hopkins, of the firm Fraytak, Veisz, Hopkins, Duthie, P.C., told the board at a recent meeting which items need attention in the near future and which issues are more long-term concerns.

Hopkins said the Cedar Drive Middle School, the Conover Road Elementary School and the Conover Road Primary School all have a low slope roof that should be replaced.

It was recommended that the middle school and the elementary school have their original interior wood doors replaced with new wood doors that are equipped with accessible trims and security locks.

Hopkins is recommending that certain restroom facilities at the middle school and the elementary school be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and that certain classroom unit ventilators be replaced.

At the middle school, recommendations call for the replacement of gymnasium and kitchen mechanical equipment and the replacement of the main electrical distribution panel, panel boards and feeders.

At the elementary school, recommendations call for the replacement of rooftop mechanical units and electrical panel boards, feeders and the main switchboard.

At the primary school, recommendations call for the replacement of failing vinyl composition tile flooring, the replacement of outdoor condensing units and the replacement of a battery powered clock system with a centrally controlled system.

Hopkins said that due to building code changes, some fixtures in the schools are outdated. He said interior doors must be rated to protect against fire and smoke and round doorknobs should be changed to lever handles.

According to the architect’s presentation, the potential funding sources for the school upgrades would be through the Energy Savings Improvement Plan; debt service aid or a referendum; the school district’s capital reserve account or its surplus fund (savings account); the tax levy; or what the state calls a Regular Operating District grant.

Hopkins said the likely source of funding would be through a referendum. He said a referendum could be held in September 2016.

There are no cost estimates for the projects and Business Administrator Vincent Marasco said the board has not made a decision about any specific projects that may be undertaken.

In other business, Howard Grinberg, a representative of Pomptonian, gave the board an update on lunch sales and revenue from September.

Grinberg said participation for the lunch program at the Conover Road Primary School was down by about 39 percent. He said that during September, about 50 lunches were sold per day, compared to 80 lunches being sold per day in September 2014.

The board recently decided to try a trial whole foods lunch menu with healthier options at the primary school.

Grinberg said a la carte sales are also down.

According to Grinberg, Cedar Drive Middle School lunch sales are up by 9 percent from last year and Conover Road Elementary School lunches are selling at about the same rate as last year with 6 percent fewer students enrolled.

“If we continue down this road we are not going to break even,” Grinberg said. “I am not saying to eliminate what we have done, but certain items may need to be added.”

Superintendent of Schools MaryJane Garibay said, “This is a process with the spirit of educating the child and preaching what we teach in our health classes.”

She said the board will send parents a survey of food items to select for their children in an attempt to get feedback about the students’ eating habits.