Clayton BOE calls for vote on expansion

By Jessica Driscoll

Published: Thursday, February 26, 2009

CLAYTON The board of education is seeking a referendum on Sept. 29 for a proposed district expansion project that will receive half its funding from the state.

"The district filed three construction grant applications in the fall to obtain funding to offset the cost of an expansion project and the state gave us three letters of award totaling $9.89 million," said Superintendent Cleve Bryan. "The project will cost $20 million so the local responsibility would be approximately $10 million."

The estimated tax impact of the referendum would be $217.48 per year for a home assessed at $100,000.

According to Bryan, the project, planned by Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel, would include work at both the elementary school and the middle school/high school.

At Herma Simmons Elementary, the project would include roof replacement, reconstruction of the existing parking lot and playground, masonry repairs and waterproofing and updates and replacements to the HVAC and electrical systems. The current board of education offices will also be renovated into three new classrooms.

At the high school/middle school, the project would add 17 classrooms, two science labs, an art room, small group instruction rooms and a new media center. To accommodate the district's growing population, sixth-grade students would be moved from the elementary school to the middle school and the middle school would be renovated to house grades six, seven and eight while ninth- through twelfth-graders would be moved to the new wing. Classrooms in the school's 200-wing, which the addition will extend from, would be renovated. The media center at the high school would become administrative offices and a computer lab and the board of education would take over the existing high school administrative offices.

The project would also include site improvements such as improved drainage, resurfacing of blacktop and curbing, the addition of air conditioning to the existing gymnasium and auxiliary gym and a reorientation of the school's facade so that the school's entrance will face Pop Kramer Boulevard.

The total cost of improvements to Simmons Elementary School would be $4.9 million and the middle school/high school expansion, renovations and new wing would cost approximately $15 million.

The state will provide approximately 50 percent of the funding and the actual referendum will be $10,017,553.

Bryan said digital plans for the expansion and renovation would be posted on the district Web site in the near future.


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