BRICK – Due to budgetary constraints, the Board of Education has prioritized safety concerns in the district’s aging schools while deciding which repair or replacement projects to green light, officials said.
A mandate by the state Department of Education requires that each school district in the state file a Comprehensive Maintenance Plan by Nov. 15, which tells the DOE how the district is going to maintain its facilities, said Board of Education member and Facilities Committee Chair John Barton during the Nov. 2 meeting.
Barton said the Facilities Committee had just met, and they had their budget for next year’s projects with priorities in place.
He said the committee was waiting for a summarized energy audit report to see if there is any direction the district has to take in the future to advance the interiors of the buildings and at the same time have some savings in energy costs.
Due to a recent solar panel fire at Emma Havens Young Elementary School, a plan must be coordinated to turn off the electricity there in order to do the necessary repair work, Barton said.
All the power must be turned off, so no one can be in the school, he said. “To shut down a school is a little bit difficult, but it’s going to be done.”
Bid documents for door projects at the high schools and Veterans Memorial Middle School are complete and doors have been ordered but it is a “long term issue,” Barton said, with some of the work planned for over the Easter break and completed during the summer.
The following doors would be replaced:
BMHS: First floor: 2 gym to hallway; trainer room to gym; 4 dining hallway. Second Floor: 2 library
VMMS: 5 hallway to exterior
BTHS: 1library to hallway; 3 cafeteria to hallway; 1 kitchen to hallway; 6 auditorium to hallway
The lowest bid of $21,000 has been submitted to fix a lintel issue at Lake Riviera Middle School, Barton said. A lintel is a horizontal structural beam,
similar to rafters, and there are rust marks streaking the outside walls where the lintels are located.
“We need to do some damage inspections requiring that holes be cut in side walls,” Barton said. “They need to be inspected so we’re taking this avenue to make sure that everything’s safe.”
The district is faced with three air conditioning units that are “kaput,” Barton said. A unit at VMMS has been down for over a year, and air conditioning units are needed at Veterans Elementary School and on top of the auditorium at Brick High School.
Some of the elementary schools in the district have bubbling paint on metal stairwells and other structures, which need to be inspected for safety, Barton said.
He said a real estate appraiser would be putting together two plans for the site of the former Laurelton School, located at the intersection of Princeton Ave. and Route 88, which has been vacant since 2008.
The lot contains the school and a district supply warehouse. One of the plans would be for a complete sale of the property, and a second appraisal would be for a split property, Barton said.
While no decision has been made by the school administration, future facilities goals would be centered on continuing with “green” initiatives, Barton said.
“It is a good goal for the students to achieve, and also worthwhile plan to save the planet and the future of our children’s lives,” Barton said.
During the meeting, acting Superintendent Dennis Filippone recognized Lanes Mill Elementary School for earning a bronze award from Sustainable Jersey for Schools, which is a certification program for NJ public schools.
“Every school is developing programs to teach students about the importance of conserving energy, conserving the environment and improving the world we live in,” Filippone said.
“There are different statuses that you reach when you get into that program. Only about 40 school districts in NJ have reached this status,” he said.
In 2016, Lake Riviera Middle School was the first in the district to earn the bronze award from Sustainable Jersey for Schools.
The next Board of Education meeting will be on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. at Brick High School.