At the June 13th Board of Education regular meeting, the Board of Education is set to discuss and vote to approve a capital plan to renovate school facilities and to build classrooms at seven elementary school building and the high school to alleviate overcrowding. This will be followed by the Board of School Estimate meeting on July 10th to approve the bonding to support this plan.
The district’s $160 million dollar capital plan was developed over a two year period. Architects, engineers and demographers worked with building leaders and central office administrators as they conducted a facilities assessment to address health, safety and building capacity needs.
The plan was initially presented to the community May and June of 2018. Over 1,000 community members attended the feedback sessions. After collecting input from the community, the plan was updated to reflect community feedback. The updated plan was presented back to the community in the fall of 2018 and then in December 2018, the Board of School Estimate and the Board of Education gave their approval to move the capital plan through the New Jersey Department of Education reviewal process.
About $93 million is needed to renovate the district’s facilities to prevent emergency repairs and damage caused by leaking roofs, malfunctioning heating systems, and to address other health and safety needs. This school year the district continued to address repairs to roofs, remediate mold in portable classrooms, repair water damaged classrooms, repair water main breaks, perform numerous elevator repairs and address other facility emergencies out of the maintenance line of the budget.
$47 million is needed to build additional classroom space for our growing enrollment and to ensure that all students can be moved out of portable classrooms. Enrollment increased almost 12% from 6,384 student in 2010 to 7,121 students in 2018. Enrollment projections show enrollment growth trends continuing for the next few years. Architects and building leaders worked together to evaluate the best place for the building additions. Schematics have been prepared to show the basic design and spatial relationships, and are not final.
An additional $18.5 million is needed to address the feedback requests from the community: install air conditioning in the schools, replace the artificial turf at Underhill Field and to add artificial turf at Ritzer Field.
The proposed capital plan addresses priority health, safety and system needs, creates sufficient capacity and flexibility for increased enrollment and renews the high school.
Presentations are posted on the district’s website. https://www.somsd.k12.nj.us/district/business-office/lrfp/