Construction in full swing at East Greenwich, Kingsway schools

Published: Monday, August 20, 2012
Written by Rebecca Forand / Gloucester County Times


Work continues at Sanuel Mickel School in
East Greenwich Township.

As students in the southern part of the county lounged in the sun, played video games and enjoyed vacations throughout the summer, the school buildings they will be returning to this fall have been undergoing a makeover.

The East Greenwich and Kingsway Regional school districts, both of which

passed referendums last September for school expansion to designs by Garrison Architects of Marlton, began construction on the four affected schools as soon as students departed in June.

In East Greenwich, the Jeffrey Clark and Samuel Mickle elementary schools have had complete overhauls to their respective heating, air conditioning and sprinkler systems. A lot of work on the land between the two buildings has also been completed, changing the traffic patterns throughout the campus.

“There’s been a lot of site work between the two schools,” Superintendent Joe Conroy said. “We’re on schedule in terms of school opening and we’re just beginning to wind down from Phase One.”

A new driveway will allow parents and school buses to drop off and pick up children more efficiently at both schools, allowing the district to alter the start time and end time of the school day. Both schools will begin classes at 8:10 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m. this year.

“There was a 10-minute staggering differential,” Conroy said. “We will do that differently this year because of the way traffic will flow.”

There are currently more than 800 children under the age of five living in the township, according to the most recent census. The kindergarten-through-sixth grade district passed a referendum last year to accommodate the growing student population and the expected influx of students once these children reach kindergarten age.

Joe Ford, of Lexa Concrete, smoothes out the concrete for the newly poured curb at Samuel Mickle School in East Greenwich Township

The $22.5 million project — of which $7 million will be covered by state grants — will include the addition of new classrooms to each building. A second referendum question that would have added additions to office space, public spaces and canopies over the schools’ entrance ways, was denied by voters.

A few miles down Kings Highway, at the Kingsway Regional campus — where East

Greenwich students join those from the Swedesboro-Woolwich and South Harrison districts for middle and high school — construction workers have also been busy this summer.

The district, one of the fastest-growing in the state, approved a $31.1 million project — of which $8.4 million will be covered by state grants — to add classrooms and expand space in the district’s two schools.

An additional 41 classrooms are being built, as well as cafeteria and gymnasium expansions.

“The brunt of interior work has been accomplished this summer and, after school opens in September, construction will focus on the exterior where we will be building new classrooms,” Kingsway Superintendent Jim Lavender said. “We are pleased with the progress to date.”

Both superintendents said construction during the school year will take place outside of the areas where students are housed, and that it should have minimal impact on the students.

However at Kingsway, the media center’s opening will be delayed and bleachers in the high school’s north gym will not be installed until September, according to Lavender.

Each project is currently still within budget. Completion is expected during the summer of 2013, with the additions to each building ready for the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.

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