East Greenwich looks to fund school construction project

Thursday, February 11, 2010
By Christina Paciolla

EAST GREENWICH TWP. School officials are exploring state grants, debt service and a possible $18 million bond referendum to help fund a renovation project at the two elementary schools here.

A proposal for a $25 million expansion project for Jeffrey Clark and Samuel Mickle schools has been planned by Garrison Architects of Mt. Laurel and is at the state level, and district officials are waiting to hear if they are not only eligible for a project like this, but if state funding will be provided.

"They are reviewing the educational adequacy of the plans and then we'll wait and see if we can get funding through the regular operating district grant," said Business Administrator Valerie Carmody.

The operating grant is worth about $7 million, Carmody said. The remaining $18 million would be a bond referendum question for the taxpayers to vote on. Since it's in such early stages, the potential impact on taxes is not available.

Carmody said it's still unclear whether the state grant will continue to be available this year due to the state's budget situation. If the $7 million grant isn't offered, Carmody said, officials are looking into debt service from the state, which could help fund about half of the project.

Last year, the board of education put out a request for architectural proposals to expand the schools. An ad hoc committee composed of community members helped develop plans. Facilities and demographic assessment results returned that the schools would only require an expansion Ð not a new home.

Both schools would stand to get additional classroom space, said Carmody. The gymnasium at Samuel Mickle would be expanded to hold a large group assembly. An addition to the cafeteria is also in the plans.

Jeffrey Clark School would be expanded to house the administrative offices. This would free up more space at Samuel Mickle, Carmody said, where the offices are now.

"We'll be running out of space for students really soon," Carmody said. "So, we are hopeful and encouraged by the participation from the community that they would embrace this for their children."

 

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