JACKSON – It had been discussed, researched and planned for several years but at long last the school district’s new satellite transportation facility is officially open.
Members of the School Board and administration joined staff from the Transportation Department and several special guests recently for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the center.
Board officials noted several years ago that the existing transportation site was in need of expansion. It was decided that in order to better manage its fleet and serve the 100-square-mile township more efficiently it would open a satellite facility on school district property near Jackson Liberty High School.
Superintendent Nicole Pormilli was among those present for the short ceremony.
“As we all know, Jackson has changed tremendously over the past two decades and this facility is a big part of responding to that change. Our original transportation facility was built when our enrollment was only 4,000 students,” she said. “As our district grew and our fleet grew, that location did not have the ability to expand with those changes. In the past 10 years in particular, our transportation department has had to operate in ways that were not ideal.”
Pormilli noted that the new facility, designed by Spiezle Architectural Group, would address cramped conditions at the existing transportation facility, located near the district’s other high school, Jackson Memorial. “The district’s transportation department operates more than 154 vehicles – all of which need to be maintained regularly and serviced periodically. District vehicles travel 1.8 million miles each year transporting more than 9,000 students safely to and from school.
“We needed to adjust and adapt. The result is a gorgeous building that stands for two things that this administration and this Board of Education believe in – progress and efficiency,” Pormilli added.
“I’d like to take a moment to thank our Board of Education – both those members currently on the board now and those who have served in the past while this project was being conceived and realized,” Pormilli added. She thanked the current Board of Education President Tara Rivera, Vice President Michael Walsh, and Board members Gus Acevedo, John Burnetsky, Tzvi Herman, Scott Sargent and John Spalthoff.
She added, “it is also important to recognize some former board members and administrators who have been involved with the project, Thomas Colucci, Sharon Dey and Vicki Grasso, who provided their input since the facility’s inception.”
The superintendent also thanked retired Superintendent Stephen Genco. “Dr. Genco was superintendent during the entire time this facility was dreamt about, constructed and realized. It was under his leadership that this facility came to life and we are very happy he is here today to celebrate the fruits of his labor.” Genco was recently named as Interim Superintendent in the Toms River School District.
Also recognized was Facilities Director Edward Ostroff, who oversaw the project and retired a day after the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“A project like this doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen without the constant attention of a project manager. For us that man was our Facilities Director Mr. Ed Ostroff, who might just be the happiest one of us all that this building is up and running,” Pormilli said.
She added, “Ed is retiring from the district this week and tomorrow is actually his last day. So, to be able to celebrate this building – which is the direct result of his expert coordination, attention to detail and perseverance – is wonderful. Thank you, Ed, for never letting up on anyone to make sure this facility was ready for us – and for so many other contributions to our district.”
Pormilli said she was pleased to see members of the transportation department present at the ceremony to “help us celebrate this official opening – you all work so hard to serve our students and I hope this facility helps make that responsibility just a little bit easier. Thank you for all you do for our district.”
“We are glad to have with us today Spiezle Architect group Project Manager Barbara Malewicz. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job of designing this beautiful building and working with us to ensure it was customized to our needs,” Pormilli added.
The superintendent concluded saying, “this project shows what can be done when our administrative team works hard alongside our Board of Education and our transportation and facilities departments to identify a problem, brainstorm a solution, set a goal and see it through.”