Construction projects at two schools under way and on schedule for September

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun Carpenters Patrick Arey (left) and Bill Garretson framing out three new full-size classrooms inside the Pond Road Middle School media center, which will still have about 5,000 square feet of space after the reconfiguration.

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun
Carpenters Patrick Arey (left) and Bill Garretson framing out three new full-size classrooms inside the Pond Road Middle School media center, which will still have about 5,000 square feet of space after the reconfiguration.

The students are gone for summer, but their schools are a frenetic whirlwind of activity as construction workers hammer away to complete the first phase of the school district’s $18.9 million K-8 building expansion projects by September.

Paul Otto Building Co., which was awarded the $2.3 million contract for Phase 1, has framed out the three new fourth-grade classrooms inside the Pond Road Middle School media center and also started the renovations and expansion of the kitchen and all-purpose room inside Sharon Elementary School, a building that is also getting new windows, floors, and for the first time, air conditioning. Phase 1 construction is expected to wrap up before students return Sept. 9.

“We’re very pleased with the progress to date,” Schools Superintendent Steve Mayer said while checking on the work at both school buildings with the school district’s facilities manager, Kim Keener, on July 10. “We can absolutely see these two projects coming together in the first phase … and we’re looking forward to awarding contracts for the next phase at the (July 30) board meeting.”

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun From left: Electricians Nick Galderese, Thomas Johnstone and Brian Jacoppo at the Sharon School cafeteria construction site.

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun
From left: Electricians Nick Galderese, Thomas Johnstone and Brian Jacoppo at the Sharon School cafeteria construction site.

Phase 2 includes a two-story addition at Sharon School containing 27 classrooms and another gym to accommodate an enrollment spike when the K-3 building is reconfigured into a K-4 school in September 2014. Phase 2 also includes bumping out a section of the front of Pond Road Middle School to expand the cafeteria space. Phase 2 construction bids are due July 26 and the contractor who is awarded the job is expected to finish the work by the fall of 2014.

Amidst this hub of construction activity, the district must still get the rest of the classrooms unaffected by the ongoing work ready for the start of school.

“The cleaning piece is still happening,” Keener said while unlocking one of the classroom doors at Sharon School. “We usually clean wing by wing so they have been able to clean all the C Hall and D Hall wings. The floors are already polished and the rooms are back in order. We just keep moving along.”

The $18.9 million school expansion referendum, which voters approved in December, is designed to alleviate K-8 overcrowding. The K-3 Sharon School with 897 students and the grade 4-8 Pond Road Middle School with 1,100 students are collectively 334 students over their intended capacity. (Robbinsville High School, which opened in 2005, is adequately sized to handle its current enrollment of about 800 students and is not part of the construction projects).

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun Carpenters Brian Szul and Mark Hunt installing Sheetrock on the cafeteria ceiling in Sharon School.

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun
Carpenters Brian Szul and Mark Hunt installing Sheetrock in the cafeteria at Sharon School.

The K-8 expansion projects will help with the current space crunch and also provide room for 300-plus new students that are expected to enroll in the district when already approved housing developments are built within the next few years.

Some of the work is long overdue. The Sharon School kitchen and all-purpose room, which is used as both gym and cafeteria, are part of the original 1958 building constructed for 400 students. More classroom wings were added in 1961, 1965 and 1991, but the kitchen and all-purpose room stayed the same.

As part of the Phase 1 construction work, the 55-year-old kitchen has been gutted so that it can be upgraded and the stage at one end of the all-purpose room has been removed to make additional space for cafeteria tables. Keener said some of the teachers who have taught at Sharon for decades have been feeling nostalgic in the face of these changes and requested swatches of the old stage curtains as mementos. (Future recitals will use a portable stage without curtains).

In addition to the changes coming to the all-purpose room and kitchen, Phase 1 at Sharon School will also include security upgrades to the front doors of the building and the renovation of rooms used for faculty, custodian/maintenance and supplies in the oldest part of the building.  All of the work is on schedule, Keener said.

The parking area and bus loop at Sharon will be reconfigured when the two-story classroom addition is done during Phase 2. At Pond Road Middle School, the building’s front entry area will be renovated with security upgrades at the same time the cafeteria expansion work is being done during Phase 2.

Architect's rendering of the Sharon School multipurpose room and cafeteria.

Architect’s rendering of the Sharon School multipurpose room and cafeteria.

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun Project Manager Pat Marques, of Paul Otto Building Co., goes over the Sharon School renovation plans with Kim Keener, the school district's facilities manager.

Joanne Degnan/The Robbinsville Sun
Project Manager Pat Marques, of Paul Otto Building Co., goes over the Sharon School renovation plans with Kim Keener, the school district’s facilities manager.

 


Warning: file_get_contents(http://graph.facebook.com/comments/?ids=http%3A%2F%2Frobbinsvillesun.com%2F2013%2F07%2F11%2Fschool-construction-projects-under-way-and-on-schedule%2F) [function.file-get-contents]: failed to open stream: HTTP request failed! HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request in /home/content/85/10397585/html/wp-content/themes/robbinsvillesun/functions.php on line 524

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/content/85/10397585/html/wp-content/themes/robbinsvillesun/functions.php on line 529

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/content/85/10397585/html/wp-content/themes/robbinsvillesun/functions.php on line 534

Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/content/85/10397585/html/wp-content/themes/robbinsvillesun/single.php on line 277